Harbhajan Singh, popularly known as Bhajji in the cricket world, has retired on Friday.
One of the finest spinners of all time, Harbhajan was a complete match-winner for India in all three formats.
Known for his never-give-up attitude, he has always been a fighter on and off the field and has entertained fans worldwide.
So today, we will discuss some amazing facts about this superb cricketer and relive his cricketing journey.
Harbhajan Singh: 20 amazing facts about the Ace-Spinner
1) Birth facts
Harbhajan Singh ‘The Turbanator’ was born on July 3, 1980, in Jalandhar, Punjab.
Bhajji’s father, Sardar Sardev Singh Plaha, had a ball bearing and valve factory.
Only brother to five sisters, Singh always wanted to handle his family business, but his father persuaded him to play cricket.
3) Introduction to cricket coaching
In his early days, under the tutelage of Charanjit Singh Bhullar, Harbhajan Singh started purely as a batsman.
However, after Charanjit’s sudden death, his new coach Davinder Arora switched him to spin bowling.
Arora prepared gave him all his knowledge, and more importantly, convinced him to take his cricket career seriously.
4) 1998 U-19 World Cup
He played the 1998 U-19 World Cup, played six matches, and picked eight wickets at an average of 24.75
5) Domestic cricket and international debut
Harbhajan made his domestic debut for Punjab during the 1997 Ranji Trophy, ended with figures of 3/35 to help his team get an innings win.
After playing six matches, he got selected for the Duleep Trophy, picked 5/131 against East Zone, and subsequently, made his debut in March 1998 against Australia.
6) International debut and initial struggle
In his debut, Bhajji ended with match figures of 2/136 and then took 3/41 in the next match.
Then, he made his ODI debut against Australia in April 1998
In that ODI series, Bhajji picked five wickets but gave away a lot of runs, and hence, was subsequently dropped for poor form
7) Coining of the name ”Bhajji”
Harbhajan made his debut in 1998, and the then Indian wicket-keeper batsman Nayan Mongia found his name very hard to spell
So, Mongia coined the nickname ‘Bhajji’, and it became so popular that Harbhajan started a sports lifestyle brand called ‘Bhajji’.
8) An unexpected death
Unfortunately, his father died in 2000, Singh took responsibility for his entire family.
Not only that, but he also organized weddings of his three sisters in 2001.
9) A superb comeback
With Kumble getting injured before India’s home series against Australia in 2001, Harbhajan was recalled to India’s test team.
Harbhajan didn’t disappoint, picked 32 wickets in three matches, and became the 1st Indian to pick a hat-trick in test matches.
10) The DSP offer
In 2002, post-2001 historic Australia series, for his superb performance, the then Punjab CM Prakash Badal offered him an honorary post of DSP in Punjab Police.
But, Bhajji had to politely decline the offer due to his commitment to Indian cricket.
11) National recognition
For his superb performances, Harbhajan Singh received Arjuna Award in 2003 and won the Padma Shri award in 2009
12) Spin twins
Harbhajan Singh formed a formidable spin bowling partnership with legspinner Anil Kumble.
Harbhajan has always recognized the contribution of Kumble in polishing his style of spin bowling.
13) Racial allegations
In 2008, ICC accused Harbhajan Singh of using racially abusive words against Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test.
Even though there was no clear evidence of him, using such abusive words, he was banned from the next test at Perth.
14) IPL controversy
In 2008, playing for Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan Singh slapped Kings Xi Punjab pacer Sreesanth for his aggressive send-off.
The IPL match referee Farokh Engineer took strict decisions and banned him from the rest of the IPL.
15) Two times World Cup winner
Harbhajan Singh was a member of the Indian cricket team that won two World Cups – the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the Cricket World Cup in 2011.
16) Youngest Indian to reach 400 test wickets
At the age of 31 years and 5 days, Harbhajan is the youngest Indian cricketer to take 400 test wickets.
Harbhajan Singh was the 3rd Indian bowler to reach this milestone of 400 test wickets.
17) First No.8 to hit back-to-back test centuries
In the 2010 New Zealand home series, playing at the No.8 position, he scored back-to-back centuries.
He considers ‘3’ as his lucky number since he was born on July 3. He has always chosen number 3 on his team jerseys.
18) Four times IPL winner
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has won the IPL trophy four times
He has won thrice with Mumbai Indians ( in 2013, 2015, and 2017) and once with Chennai Super Kings
19) International wickets
“The Turbanator”, with 417 test wickets, 269 ODI wickets, 25 T20I wickets, and an overall of 711 wickets across all formats.
20) Personal life
In 2015, he married his longtime girlfriend Geeta Basra, who was an actress in Bollywood.
He has an estimated net worth is $9 million. They have two children – a son and a daughter.