Harbhajan Singh, former Indian off-spinner, has never minced his words when it comes to hailing former captain and the current president of the BCCI Sourav Ganguly for the stellar role that he played in resurrecting the turbanator’s career.
Harbhajan Singh had been thrown out of the National Cricket Academy; he had just lost his father and the selectors weren’t keen on picking him for the historic 2001 Test series against Australia.
Ganguly fought with the selectors for Harbhajan Singh’s selection and the rest, as they say, is history. Harbhajan went on to take 32 wickets including a hattrick during that series, and post that he proceeded to become a permanent member of the side.
So, when the legendary off-spinner was asked by Aakash Chopra as to which captain had the most impact on him. Harbhajan was quick to point out Sourav Ganguly.
“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 Singh said in a chat with former India cricketer Aakasha Chopra on his Youtube show ‘Aakash Vani’.
He added: “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,”
“Sourav was always there for the bowlers”- Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan went on to play more than 100 Test matches for his country but he feels without Ganguly’s support, it would not have been possible.
“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,” Harbhajan Singh added.
He also added that Ganguly was a kind of captain who would give complete freedom to his bowlers.
“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,” he said.