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Thursday, May 13, 2021
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Harbhajan Singh: Sourav Ganguly backed me when I had zero backing

On being asked to name the captain who had the most impact on his career, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said, "For me, Sourav Ganguly's role was huge." "Ganguly backed me when I had zero backing...[he] helped me become a better bowler...grow into a fearless spinner," Harbhajan stated.


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Veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s role in his career was huge since he received his backing when he was going through tough times.

Harbhajan further revealed that the selectors at the time were against him and that it was only Ganguly’s support that got him back into the India set-up.

“For me, Sourav Ganguly’s role was huge. I was once at a stage in life where I didn’t know who was with me and who was not. Because people on my face were saying that they are with me, but many of them were not with me at the time. But at the time, Ganguly backed me when I had zero backing,” Harbhajan said on Aakasha Chopra’s Youtube show.

“The selectors were against me, they told me a lot of things on my face which I cannot disclose. No amount of praise I could give Ganguly would be sufficient. If he was not the captain at the time, I don’t know if any other captain could have backed me as much.

“If any player has pushed my career the most, it is Sourav Ganguly. If he was not there, I would not have been able to play 100 Tests.”

The 39-year old further revealed that Ganguly gave his bowlers plenty of freedom when it came to field placements, often times setting an attacking field even when the option to put fielders on the boundary was an option.

“Sourav was always there for the bowlers. He would give you the freedom to bowl and he would give you all the things you need as a bowler to build your confidence.

“If you want 4-5 fielders in front to take catches, he would let you place them. Sometimes, we would ask ourselves if we should push back a fielder, but he would say, ‘no, let him be in front. If we put him in front, we would create chances. If he hits boundaries, let him hit boundaries. We are looking to get him out’.

“You need captains who would back you. This was his best quality. Sometimes he would let me bowl 6-7 overs in the ODIs with fielders in front. I used to think as well ‘ when we have the option to place fielder at back, why are we not doing so’. 

“What he made me do as a bowler, and the situations Sourav made me face several times, helped me become a better bowler, and grow into a fearless spinner. Sourav was unbelievable in that case.”

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