India’s off-spinner Harbjahan Singh announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday (December 24). The 41-year-old announced this shocking news on Twitter and this spreaded on all other social media platforms. Harbhajan Singh picked up 417 wickets in 103 Tests, 269 wickets in 236 ODIs and 25 scalps in 28 T20Is in his overall career.
Harbhajan Singh took to Twitter to announce his retirement from all forms of the game. He tweeted, “All good things come to an end and today as I bid adieu to the game that has given me everything in life, I would like to thank everyone who made this 23-year-long journey beautiful and memorable.
My heartfelt thank you. Grateful”
Harbhajan Singh made his Test debut against Australia in Bangalore back in 1998. And at that time, Greg Blewett turned out to be his maiden Test scalp. In the same year, Harbhajan Singh earned his maiden ODI cap when India played against New Zealand in April in Sharjah, and Matt Horne was his first ODI wicket.
However, it was around three years later when the off-spinner reached great heights, as he powered India to a memorable come-from-behind 2-1 Test series win which was against Australia by scalping 32 wickets, and he also recorded his best Test figures of 8 for 84 in that series in Chennai.
Harbhajan Singh also was a member of the Indian side that reached the summit clash of the 2003 50-over World Cup. And eventually, he won the title in 2011 where he took nine wickets. The Indian off-spinner also was a part of the set-up that won the T20 WC in 2007 in South Africa.
Harbhajan also was one of the mainstays of India’s memorable overseas wins in Leeds (2002) and Durban (2010-11 season). Harbhajan Singh finished with four and six wickets respectively. He recorded his best Test figures away from home – 7 for 120 – in the drawn Test in Cape Town in 2010-11, and he played his final international game against the UAE in the T20 Asia Cup in 2016.
Harbhajan also played 163 IPL matches and took 150 wickets, from which his best season in the IPL came in 2013. In 2023, Harbhajan took 24 wickets at an average of 19 for the Mumbai Indians. The Indian off-spinner, who made his first-class debut in the 1997 season for Punjab versus Services, also played 198 first-class matches, and took 780 wickets.
Well, along with this, he was also a useful contributor with the bat in hand, evidenced by the two Test hundreds he compiled versus New Zealand at home in 2010, and with addition to those two hundreds, he also scored nine fifties in the longest format of the game.
Recalling the innumerable memorable moments he shared with Harbhajan, Sachin Tendulkar wished the 41-year-old good luck for his “doosra phase.”
“What a wonderful & fulfilling career, Bhajji! I first met you at India nets in ’95 – over the years, we’ve been part of wonderful memories.You have been a great team man, playing with all your heart. Both on the field and off it – it is always fun to have you as part of any team. I cannot forget all those moments of laughter,” Tendulkar wrote.
“You have done your best for India in your long career, we are all very proud of you. Wishing you happiness and success in the ‘doosra’ phase of your career,” he added.
India head coach Rahul Dravid said that the important part of Harbhajan’s career has been his fighting qualities.
“Harbhajan had many ups and downs in his career but he has always come out fighting. Great competitor and a great team man, someone you wanted to go to battle with. Obviously, one of those great performers for India,”
Other team members such as Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, VVS Laxman, KL Rahul etc. also posted their messages for Harbhajan Singh on social media platforms.