Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has recalled his famous hat-trick that came against Australia at the Eden Gardens Test of 2001. The famous Test is often seen as the game that changed Indian cricket’s direction as it instilled the self believe in the Indian players that they can beat any team.
The win came against an Australian team which had won its last 16 Tests in a row. The all-conquering Australian team of Steve Waugh had also won the first Test of that series by ten wickets in Mumbai before the Sourav Ganguly-led side sprung a surprise at the Eden Gardens.
India had gone on to win the series 2-1 and Harbhajan Singh was one of the architects of the famous win. The hat-trick at the Eden Gardens was first-ever Test hat-trick by an Indian. The veteran spinner, who was just 20 years old then, took three wickets in three balls in Australia’s first innings to put the skids on their charge.
From 252 for four with Ricky Ponting and captain Steve Waugh at the crease, the visitors crumbled to 252 for seven in the space of three balls on a batting surface. Recalling the game, Harbhajan Singh said ‘it was a very special moment’ for him. He stated that the hat-trick not only gave him recognition but also gave him belief to do well at the highest stage.
“It is a very special moment in my life. That hat-trick gave me a lot of recognition, lot of belief that I could do it (at the highest level against a top team). I felt like, if I can do it against these guys, the best guys then I can do it against any other team,” Harbhajan Singh told IANS.
It is something which is very, very important to me as I said because it gave me the recognition and people suddenly started to rely on me. They felt, ‘yeah this guy can do it’. The hat-trick and the series was a turning point in my life,” he added.
Harbhajan Singh went on to become one of India’s greatest spinners. He represented India in 103 Tests and picked up an impressive 417 wickets. The 40-year old last played a Test in 2015.