The outburst after winning the second Test was expected from a mercurial and moody Harbhajan Singh. Yet,as the off-spinner gave vent to his feelings after helping India clinch a thrilling win against the South Africans at the Eden Gardens,an unusually emotional off-spinner took everyone by surprise.
Its just that these feelings inside me have been were waiting to come out, an exhausted Harbhajan said at the post-match press conference,after launching a scathing attack at critics,and the media,for condemning him during recent phases in his career when he was going through a prolonged rough patch.
Today,they (critics and the media) are at the receiving end. Its a shame the way I have been treated. After putting in so much effort in trying to do my best for the country,this is the treatment I get,and its really disappointing, Harbhajan told reporters. The outburst came shortly after he sent the Eden crowd delirious by taking the last South African wicket to seal Indias win. The criticism run on TV are not even funny. We play for our country and we play with a lot of passion. Theyve say things like Harbhajan Singh is one of the three idiots (in reference to the film 3 Idiots). And Dhoni is another. You may be laughing now after hearing this,but its not funny for us. Its disappointing to see the characters you make us. But at the end of the day,I shouldnt bother about this,because my focus is somewhere else its a bigger purpose,to play for my country,focus on my game and deliver my best, the 29-year-old off-spinner said.
Harbhajan,for whom Kolkata has always been a happy hunting ground,finished with eight wickets in the match,topping it with a five-wicket haul in the second innings. With that,he also took his tally to 46 Test wickets in the city.
Harbhajan pointed out that it was former captain and leg-spinner Anil Kumble who has played a key role in coming out of the crisis and getting his act together,both mentally and technically. Thanks to Anil bhai for what he has done for me during this phase. He kept giving me advice,what to do and what not to do. He gave me inputs on technical matters,and on how to handle myself in these bad times. This (comeback) wouldnt have been possible without him, he said.
Harbhajan said that putting the past behind him and trying to remain calm during the course of the match helped his concentration. All along in this match,I tried to remain relaxed,focus on getting the simple things right. Thats why I was able to get everything right,things like pitching the ball in the right areas and getting the right line against the South African batsmen. This match has been a tremendous experience, he said.