Harbhajan Singh set to announce retirement from competitive cricket: Report
Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh could announce his retirement from competitive cricket next week. As per a report in the Indian Express, the 41-year-old could be seen as a member of the support staff in one of the high-profile Indian Premier League franchises. Harbhajan represented Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 edition. He played a few matches in the first half.
Why does it matter?
- Harbhajan, also known as the Turbanator, remains one of the greatest spinners.
- The right-arm off-spinner played a crucial role in India's T20 World Cup (2007) and 50-over World Cup (2011) win.
- Bhajji was also a force to reckon with in the IPL.
- However, the best of Harbhajan is behind him. He is likely to retire ahead of the upcoming IPL season.
Which role will Harbhajan take up?
Harbhajan will have to retire from cricket to take up a role in the support staff. "The role could be that of a consultant, mentor, or part of the advisory group but the franchise with which he is talking are keen to use his experience. He will take an active part in helping the franchise decide on their auction picks," an IPL source PTI.
A look at the IPL stats of Harbhajan
Harbhajan is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the IPL with 150 scalps from 163 matches, including a best match haul of 5/18. He is also the leading-wicket taker among off-spinners in the tournament. Harbhajan has also represented Mumbai Indians previously, and still holds the third-most wickets for them (127). For Chennai Super Kings, he picked up 23 wickets at 25.30.
Harbhajan played his last international in 2016
Harbhajan played his last IPL match in the first half of the 2021 edition, against Royal Challengers Bangalore. His last international outing came in 2016 at the Asia Cup (vs the United Arab Emirates).
Harbhajan's numbers in international cricket
Harbhajan Singh made his international debut in the third Test against Australia (1998) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Over two decades later, he is India's fourth-highest wicket-taker (417) in Test cricket after Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434), and R Ashwin (427). Overall, Harbhajan scalped 711 wickets from 367 internationals at an average of 32.54. He also owns 28 five-fors and five 10-wicket hauls.
First Indian to take a Test hat-trick
In 2001, Harbhajan became the first Indian to clinch a hat-trick in Test cricket. He rattled the Australian batting line-up on the opening day of the historic Eden Gardens Test. The likes of Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, and Shane Warne were the victims of Harbhajan. He finished with bowling figures of 196/13 as India sealed a famous Test victory despite getting a follow-on.