Dhoni may have supported some BCCI officials who didn't want me: Harbhajan Photograph:( AFP )
Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh didn't play a lot of games for Team India post the 2011 ODI World Cup campaign. He has made a glaring remark now on his sudden omission.
Harbhajan Singh announced his international retirement on December 24, 2021. The wily off-spinner represented India in 367 internationals and was part of many memorable wins for the national side. Bhajji played a key role in India's historic 2001 Test series win over the then dominant Australia and was also a part of India's victorious run in 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup.
However, Harbhajan was never a regular in the Indian team post the 2011 ODI WC heroics. He played only a handful of internationals post the 50-over championship but remained active in the Indian Premier League (IPL), playing for Mumbai Indians (MI), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
The veteran spinner, thus, ended with 417 Test scalps (fourth-most among Indians), 269 and 25 wickets in ODIs and T20Is, respectively. Recently, The Turbanator made a glaring remark on his sudden omission from the national setup while reflecting back on his journey.
"Luck has always favoured me. Just some external factors were not by my side and maybe, they were completely against me. This is because of the way I was bowling or the rate at which I was moving ahead. I was 31 when I took 400 wickets and if I would have played another 4-5 years, keeping in mind the kind of standards I had set for myself, I can tell you that I would have taken another 100-150 wickets or more," Harbhajan told Zee News in an interview.
He further asserted, "Yes. MS Dhoni was the captain then but I think this thing was above Dhoni’s head. To a certain extent, there were some BCCI officials who were involved in this and they didn’t want me and the captain may have supported that but a captain can never be above the BCCI. The BCCI officials have always been bigger than the captain, coach or the team."
"Dhoni had better backing than other players and if the rest of the players would have got the same kind of backing, then they would have played as well. It wasn’t as if the rest of the players forgot to swing a bat or didn’t know how to bowl all of a sudden,” he further added.
In his last few years of being active at the competitive level, Bhajji won the IPL once in the CSK jersey (in 2018) and almost got hold of the title in IPL 2019, where CSK lost to his previous franchise MI by a run. In IPL 2021, Harbhajan was part of the KKR line-up but was never a regular in the franchise's journey to the finale.
Irrespective of the factors that led to Bhajji's omission from Team India, he has signed off as one of the greatest players for the country with a career spanning from 1998-2021 (last representing India in 2016).