Harbhajan Singh hopes recent Essex stint will propel him to 150 more wickets for India
09:57 14 November 2012
India bowler Harbhajan Singh hopes that his time with Essex will be able to propel him to another 150 wickets for his country as they prepare to face England in a hotly-anticipated Test Series.
The off spinner spent the second half of the summer with the Chelmsford based outfit and made a good impression there with his bowling and batting.
The 32-year-old had lost his place in the national side after a grade one abdominal muscle tear 12 months ago as the Indians were whitewashed by England but returned for the World Twenty20.
“Test cricket will always be the biggest thing for me because as a cricketer you want to be judged by what you have done and what you are doing in Test cricket,” Harbhajan told London24 in July.
“For me, Test cricket will always be really special and I can’t wait to get back into the Indian side by doing well and I hope to take 150 odd wickets for India and that should be good fun.
“I’ll work hard and do whatever I can from my side to get back into the Indian side and hopefully, with the grace of God I’ll be there soon and start winning games again for Team India.”
Pragyan Ojha was one of the fortunate beneficiaries during Harbhajan’s absence and was helped by his performances for Surrey as the south Londoners won promotion back to Division One in 2011 and Harbhajan wants to repeat the trick.
“This is the perfect opportunity for me,” the off-spinner explained. “We don’t play cricket in India at this point in time.
“England is a very good place to play cricket and the county circuit has helped a lot of players to redevelop their game and to learn about their game.
“It has helped me before and you learn every day in cricket, no matter what you have achieved.
“But still, every day is a new day. I go out to learn. You learn from your defeats. Every day I am learning.
“This is a challenge for me to do well here and obviously I am really looking forward for this challenge and get back to the India side.
“Playing first class cricket will help you become a better cricketer, no matter how many Tests you have played and how many wickets you have taken, how many scores you have scored.
“You can’t guarantee you’ll go and score another hundred or take five wickets on that day.
“That’s the beauty of this game – every day is a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”
In 98 Tests for India, Harbhajan has taken 406 wickets with best figures of 8/84 against the great Australia side in 2001.
In one day cricket for his country, the off-spinner has taken 259 wickets at an average of 33 in 229 games.
The off spinner knows that new England captain will be the key man when they face each other in the series.
Cook scored 60 and 104* on his Test debut against the Indians in India after coming in to open after captain Michael Vaughan and vice-captain Marcus Trescothick were forced home.
The current One Day International captain has been in sensational form in the past two years, scoring eight hundreds in that process.
“They are good players, that’s why they’re playing for their country,” Harbhajan told London24.
“Alastair has been there for many years and has been doing really well for England.
“I wish him well for England and bring a lot of happiness for him, England fans and every supporter who supports Team England.
“He’s been doing a tremendous job.”