Legendary Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh announced his retirement from all formats of the game on Friday.

The ace off-spinner debuted for India in 1998 and enjoyed a fruitful career across all formats. He was part of the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup-winning teams. Harbhajan is only among the four Indian bowlers to take more than 400 wickets in the longest format. Bhajji was also the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket.

In his 23-year-long career, Harbhajan played 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 T20Is, taking 417, 269 and 25 wickets, respectively. Bhajji also appeared in 163 games in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he took as many as 150 wickets.

In a video message on Twitter, Harbhajan shared a lengthy statement and said he was waiting for the right time to hang his boots. Bhajji said he wanted to bid farewell by wearing the Indian jersey, but destiny had other plans.

“There comes a time in life, you have to take tough decisions, and you have to move on. From the past year, I wanted to make an announcement, and I was waiting for the right time to share the moment with all of you. Today, I am taking retirement from all formats of cricket. Mentally, I retired earlier but couldn’t announce it. In any case, I have not been playing active cricket for some time, but due to my commitment with Kolkata Knight Riders, I wanted to stay with them for the IPL (2021) season. But during the season, I had already made up my mind to retire.

Like every cricketer, I wanted to bid adieu, wearing an Indian jersey but destiny had other plans. For whichever team I have played, I have played with 100 per cent commitment so that my team finishes on top.”

Harbhajan spoke about his professional career and said winning the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup were the most important moments for him.

“Speaking about my cricket career. My first moment of joy was when I took a hat-trick in Kolkata, becoming the first Indian to do so in Test cricket. During that series, I took 32 wickets in three matches, and it is still a record.

The 2007 World Cup, and of course, the 2011 World Cup triumph, was the most important to me. These are memorable moments I will never be able to forget. I can’t describe it in words how much happiness I got from it.”

Harbhajan thanked his teammates, opposition players and coaches, groundsmen and umpires who wished him well in life. The 41-year-old also expressed his gratitude towards BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and all other members of BCCI along with Punjab Cricket Association (PCA).

“I want to thank all my teammates and all the opposition players, and also thank all my coaches, groundsmen, umpires, media and every person that has encouraged me to do well in life. And from the bottom of my heart, I also want to thank all those fans who prayed for me when I was representing the Indian cricket team.

Also want to thank BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, all the members of the BCCI. Also, thank the Punjab Cricket Association. MP Pandove, sir, IS Bindra sir, both will always be very close to my heart.”


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