Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh announced retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, saying that he is finally communicating what has been on his mind for the past few years.
“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,” Singh said in a tweet.
The 41-year-old from Punjab took 417 wickets in 103 Tests, 269 wickets in 236 ODIs, and 25 scalps in 28 T20Is in his illustrious career, which began in 1998.
Notably, his last international appearance came back in 2016 in a T20 international.
“I retired earlier but I am making the announcement today”
Speaking on his YouTube channel wearing an India blazer, the veteran player said that in his mind, he retired earlier but he is making the announcement today.
He went on to say: “My journey from the streets of Jalandhar to become the Turnabator for Team India has been a beautiful one. There is no bigger motivation for me in life than stepping out on the field, wearing the India jersey. There comes a time in life where we have to take a tough decision, you have to move forward in life. I was waiting for the last few years to make this announcement public — I am retiring from all forms of cricket.”
“Like all cricketers, I too wanted to bade adieu in Indian jersey but fate had something else in store for me,” he said.
“For whichever team I have played, there has always been 100 per cent commitment from me to ensure that my team finishes at the top, whether it is India, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Surrey or Essex county,” said Singh.
Singh who became the first Indian bowler to grab a Test hat-trick in a memorable international career continues: “In my cricket career, I was happy for the first time when I had taken a hat-trick in Kolkata and I became the first Indian bowler to take a hat-trick in Test cricket. I had also taken 32 wickets in three matches, which is still a record.”
Harbhajan Singh is among the few players who have been part of India’s historic World Cup triumphs in 2007 (T20) and 2011.
He went on to say: “Then the 2007 and 2011 World Cup wins were most important for me. Such memorable moments I can’t forget in my life and I can’t ever explain in words what it meant to me.”
“My parents worked hard to fulfil my dreams. If I am born again, I would like to be born again as their son,” Singh said.
“My wife Geeta, your love completes me, you have seen the best and worst of me. You won’t complain that I don’t give you time anymore. (And) I am happy that I will have time for my children and watch them grow up,” he added.