In the year 2001, the Indian team won the historic Test series by defeating Australia under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. Steve Waugh was the captain of the Australian team at that time. After this series win, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was praised a lot. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was instrumental in India’s Test series win. Harbhajan took a hat-trick in the Kolkata Test in that series and became the first Indian bowler to take a hat-trick in Test matches. From here there was a big change in the career of Harbhajan Singh. Bhajji has now made a big disclosure to Ganguly.
Harbhajan said in a conversation with SportsScrida that if the Indian team had lost the Test series against Australia in 2001, Sourav Ganguly would have been removed from the captaincy. He said, ‘I got a chance in this series because of Sourav Ganguly. I got a new identity after the series. All this was possible because of Ganguly. If the Indian team had not won the Test series against Australia, Ganguly might not have been the captain. If Ganguly had not shown faith in me in that series, I might not have got opportunities. There is no doubt that Sourav Ganguly helped me. I will always be grateful to him for this.
He further said, ‘It is as if God sent Sourav Ganguly for me, ‘Keep holding this child’s hand.’ He took my hand and I took God’s hand. And I kept on doing my job. That’s how I made a name for myself and Sourav Ganguly also won big series, which continued to support him in captaincy.
Bhajji, 41, said he is grateful to Ganguly for supporting him, but Harbhajan would never have had the kind of career he enjoyed had he not worked hard himself. He said, ‘Yes, he supported me. There is no doubt about it. I am forever grateful for this. But at the same time it is your performance that makes your career special. The captain can give you a chance, which Ganguly gave me at the right time. It was a difficult period for me. After that it is up to the individual how he performs.
Took hat-trick in Kolkata Test
Harbhajan was in excellent form in that series. He took only four wickets in the first Test. But he made a strong comeback in the second and third Tests. He also took the first hat-trick of his career in the second Test itself. Harbhajan dismissed Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne for successive deliveries in the first innings of the second Test. He took 7 wickets in one innings and 6 wickets in the second innings as well. India won this test match by 171 runs.