Former Australian captain Steve Waugh praised Indian champion Harbhajan Singh, saying that the fact that the ‘Turbanator’ played his cricket in the same vein and spirit as the Australians was what made him such a difficult customer to deal with. .
Waugh also explained why Harbhajan was such a difficult player to counter, especially at the Indian wickets.
According to the legendary Australian cricketer, Harbhajan’s over-spinning and the rebound he got from the box is what made him such a nightmare for batsmen.
“He played in the same vein, the same spirit and the same method as us. That’s probably why we found it a little bit hot because it was like playing against ourselves in opposition. He played cricket the Australian way. He was in front of you, a little chatty, aggressive, positive and he supported himself, ”Steve Waugh told cricket.com.au.
“He wasn’t a traditional off-spinner. He hovered a bit and bounced back. It wasn’t always the tight turn, but the subtle variations and the rebound. I got caught on a bat mat quite regularly, ”added Steve Waugh.
“That’s probably why we found it a bit spicy – it was like playing against ourselves.”
– cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 14, 2021
“He won the series for India in 2001” – Steve Waugh on Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh may have made his debut against Australia in 1998, but it was during the 2001 home tournament against Australians led by Steve Waugh where he announced his arrival on the big stage.
After remaining in his nature for a good chunk of two years, Harbhajan made a resounding comeback in the absence of senior Indian spinner Anil Kumble as he spun the Aussies in a tizzy, claiming up to 32 wickets – y included a hattrick at Eden Gardens – in just three test matches – the most by a bowler in a three test rubber.
Harbhajan Singh’s level of dominance can be measured by the fact that the second-biggest wicket takers for India in this series were Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan, who claimed three each.
Steve Waugh admitted that with the exception of Matthew Hayden, neither of his beaters were able to counter Harbhajan, hailing the off-spinner as the difference between the two sides.
“He won the series for India in 2001. 32 wickets in 3 tests. We just couldn’t counter his rebound. He got this incredible bounce along the length. Every spell he’s bowed to, he’s dominated us. An incredible strike rate has resulted in many overs and has been consistent. Hayden probably took it and did well, but the rest of us really couldn’t find a way to beat it. Without him, we would have won the series. A very influential personality, especially against us, ”concluded Waugh.
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– India Wisden (@WisdenIndia) May 1, 2020
Harbhajan Singh has continued to be successful against Australia throughout his career as he has won a total of 95 wickets in 18 games at an average of 29.95 with up to seven five wicket traits. It has also had its share of controversies against Australians, no bigger than the ‘Monkeygate scandal’ in 2008.