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The 39-year-old veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh recently admitted that the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly played a hugely important role to build up his international career.
Harbhajan Singh played under 12 captains during his international career from 1998 to 2016, where he played 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 T20Is.
After making his international debut under Mohammad Azharuddin, while Harbhajan played 100+ international matches under the two successful Indian captains MS Dhoni (133 games) and Sourav Ganguly (118 matches), he also played 62 international matches under another former Indian captain Rahul Dravid.
Recently, Harbhajan claimed that Sourav Ganguly played a considerable role to set his international career as he backed him when the off-spinner didn’t get any other support.
Recently in a YouTube chat show with his former national teammate Aakash Chopra, Harbhajan said, “For me, Sourav Ganguly’s role was huge. I was once at a stage in life where I didn’t know who was with me and who was not. Because people on my face were saying that they are with me, but many of them were not with me at the time. But at the time, Ganguly backed me when I had zero backing.”
Harbhajan further added that even when the selectors were also against him, skipper Ganguly supported him entirely and saved his career.
He claimed, “The selectors were against me, they told me a lot of things on my face which I cannot disclose. No amount of praise I could give Ganguly, would be sufficient. If he was not the captain at the time, I don’t know if any other captain could have backed me as much.”
If any player has pushed my career the most, it is Sourav Ganguly: Harbhajan Singh
While Harbhajan played 103 Tests, where he bagged 417 wickets, he feels that it couldn’t be possible to play 100 Tests if he didn’t get the huge support from Ganguly.
Harbhajan continued, “If any player has pushed my career the most, it is Sourav Ganguly. If he was not there, I would not have been able to play 100 Tests.”
The off-spinner Harbhajan also added that the captain Ganguly was always for his bowlers as he provided the freedom to the bowlers to build their confidence.
Harbhajan quoted, “Sourav was always there for the bowlers. He would give you the freedom to bowl and he would give you all the things you need as a bowler to build your confidence.”
In his international career, Harbhajan Singh picked up 711 wickets (417 Test wickets, 269 ODI wickets and 25 T20I wickets), the second-most international wickets by an Indian bowler.
Harbhajan was also a regular member during MS Dhoni-led India’s victory in the ICC World T20 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.