Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh who announced his retirement from the game last week has now opened up on his ouster from the national team, blaming ‘some BCCI officials’ for the same.
Harbhajan, with 269 ODI wickets and 417 Test wickets, was a permanent figure in the Indian team for a long time, but fell out of favour in the second phase of his international career, coinciding with the rise of Ravichandran Ashwin.
He last played for India in a T20I match against UAE in Dhaka in 2016. On 24 December, via a tweet, Harbhajan had made the announcement that he would retire from all forms of the game.
"Luck has always favoured me. Just some external factors were not by my side and maybe, they were completely against me. This is because of the way I was bowling or the rate at which I was moving ahead. I was 31 when I took 400 wickets and if I would have played another 4-5 years, keeping in mind the kind of standards I had set for myself, I can tell you that I would have taken another 100-150 wickets or more," Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Zee News.
The 41-year-old added that then skipper MS Dhoni might have supported BCCI’s decision.
"Yes. MS Dhoni was the captain then but I think this thing was above Dhoni's head. To a certain extent, there were some BCCI officials who were involved in this and they didn't want me and the captain may have supported that but a captain can never be above the BCCI. The BCCI officials have always been bigger than the captain, coach, or the team," he said.
"Dhoni had better backing than other players and if the rest of the players would have got the same kind of backing, then they would have played as well. It wasn't as if the rest of the players forgot to swing a bat or didn't know how to bowl all of a sudden," Harbhajan added.
Harbhajan's last professional outing as a cricketer was with Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2021 where he played just three matches without taking a wicket.
One of the most memorable moments of Harbhajan’s international career was the Test hat-trick against Australia in 2001 in Kolkata. The off-spinner took 32 wickets in the three-match Test series as India earned a famous 2-1 win over Australia at home
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