UPDATED: April 2, 2021 10:26 IST
Harbhajan Singh has a strong association with Kolkata. The India off-spinner rose to fame and became a household name during the historic Test series against Australia wherein he gave sleepless nights to an all-conquering Australian team.
Harbhajan Singh’s 13-wicket match-haul in the historic Eden Gardens Test and chart-topping tally of 32 wickets in India’s memorable Test series triumph still remains etched in the memories of the fans of the sport. 20 years later, Harbhajan will once again renew his association with the City of Joy as he gears up to represent Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
Harbhajan Singh, 40, was bought by KKR at the IPL 2021 auction in February at his base price of Rs 2 crore. Despite not having played competitive cricket since IPL 2019 wherein he played for Chennai Super Kings, Harbhajan is confident of putting up a good show for KKR in the new season.
Speaking to Sports Today on the 10th anniversary of India’s 2011 World Cup triumph, Harbhajan Singh said he continues to play the sport for the love of the game and the satisfaction he gets when he steps out on the field. Having got the backing of captain Eoin Morgan, the senior off-spinner is raring to have a go in KKR colours in IPL 2021, starting April 9.
‘I get goosebumps when talking about Kolkata’
“I have achieved a few things that I had set out to achieve. There are a few things that I want to achieve for my personal satisfaction. I always enjoy playing cricket. Why do we play sport? It gives us satisfaction and joy. I don’t want to miss out on that till the time I am playing. And this is the reason I am still to be on the part and rub my shoulders with 20-year-old guys and see how good I am and what I can do,” Harbhajan said on Friday.
“Till the time I have that urge and feeling, I will continue to play. When that doesn’t come, I will say ‘I need to move on and do something else’.
“When we talk about Kolkata, I get goosebumps. Everything about the city takes me back, reminds me of Eden 2001. In Test cricket, I have always taken a 5-wicket haul. Even if I am not in form, if I go to Kolkata, I regain form. That’s the blessings of Kaali Ma and the love from the people.
“There is some power that keeps me motivated in Kolkata. Thank you for all the support from the Bengali people. I have always said Kolkata is like another home for me.
“I am excited to be part of this journey with KKR. They have been champions twice. I will try and do my best and do whatever I can do to make sure they come at the top. It’s a team game we all have to play, we have a big, big competition. We are looking forward to it. From my side, I will go more than 100 percent and do my best to get the right results for KKR,” he added.
Harbhajan Singh opted out of IPL 2020 due to personal reasons in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and was subsequently released by CSK. Despite going unsold in the first round of the auction, the World Cup-winner got a buyer in KKR towards the end of the mini-auction in February.
Harbhajan, who is among the top 5 wicket-takers in the IPL with 150 wickets, will join the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy in what looks like an exciting spin-bowling attack for KKR.