Harbhajan Singh recalls when he 'irritated' Sachin Tendulkar: 'I could gather enough courage to tell him...'

Apr 22, 2023 05:35 PM IST

Harbhajan Singh went from being a youngster idolising Sachin Tendulkar to being one of the batting great's long-time India teammates.

Sachin Tendulkar's storied international career spanned over 23 years and this meant that he has shared the Indian dressing room with a number of players who grew up idolising him. This includes the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, all of whom have gone on to become greats in the history of Indian cricket of their own accord.

Harbhajan spent a majority of his career sharing the dressing room with Tendulkar(Getty Images)
Harbhajan spent a majority of his career sharing the dressing room with Tendulkar(Getty Images)

Tendulkar turns 50 on Monday and a number of members of the cricket fraternity who have played with or against him or who have had the chance of meeting him in their careers are coming up with their own stories of the former India captain. Harbhajan, who witnessed more than half of the 100 international centuries that Tendulkar scored while sharing the Indian dressing room with the legend, had one such story from back when he had been selected in the national team and was bowling to Tendulkar in the nets.

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“I had bowled to Sachin as an academy bowler when Indian team played its matches in Mohali, but once I was selected in the Indian team, it was a different atmosphere," Harbhajan is quoted as saying by PTI.

"So it happened that I got a chance to bowl to Sachin. Now, after a few deliveries, I felt that he summoned me by nodding his head upside down. So I just went up and asked him 'Haanji Paaji? Aapne bulaya'? (Did you call me Paaji?). Now Sachin, when he is batting he doesn't talk to anyone. He is just in his zone and told me 'No'.

"After a few minutes, again a nod of his head and I again went up and this time he seemed a bit irritated as it was hampering his practice. He asked, 'What happened, why are you coming up time and again'? I could gather enough courage to tell him that since he was nodding his head after each delivery, I felt he wanted to speak to me," said Harbhajan.

Then he laughed and told me the actual reason behind his nodding. "In those days, he used to wear a helmet that was slightly over-sized or loose, I may say. So, after every delivery, he would just nod his head upside down to adjust the helmet before facing the next delivery," said the 42-year-old.

Harbhajan played three World Cups with Tendulkar but it is the last one of those that the latter always recalls as the greatest moment in his career. For it was in 2011 that India won the World Cup for the first time since 1983. Harbhajan said that Tendulkar is closest to being a “perfect cricketer.”

Obviously, as a person he is a role model and an example of how to lead your life with dignity, humility, despite enjoying god-like status and insane following in our country," said Harbhajan.

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