If Sourav Ganguly had not supported me in 2001, he would have been sacked from the captaincy: Harbhajan Singh

Sourav Ganguly is considered one of the best Indian captains of all time. Ganguly is often credited with supporting youngsters during his tenure as captain of the Indian team and several players over the years have thanked Ganguly for playing a part in their career development. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni, among others, were all supported by Ganguly as youngsters and went on to become game greats.

Ganguly’s ability to trust his players and support them even in the worst of times often paid rich dividends to the Indian team as they recorded memorable wins both at home and away. Former India spinner Harbhajan, who also shone under Ganguly’s leadership, recently revealed how he once saved the former captain from sacking.

Harbhajan made his international debut for India in March 1998 and quickly became a mainstay of India’s bowling attack under Ganguly. However, while he was talented, he was too young to be trusted in a Test series against Australia in 2001 and there were question marks over his place in the Indian squad.

Read also : Harbhajan recalls infamous Sreesanth slapgate row: ‘I made a mistake, it shouldn’t have happened’

Harbhajan claimed that if Ganguly had not backed him and kept him in the squad for the 2001 Australian Test series at home, India might not have won and Ganguly could have been sacked in as captain. Harbhajan made the revelation while speaking on Sportskeeda recently.

“If Ganguly hadn’t supported me, he wouldn’t have won this series (2001 against Australia) and would have been sacked as captain. He came as God to me and held my hand and I continued my work. It helped both my career and his as captain because he got the extension. He helped give me a chance, but it’s up to the player to make it count,” said the former India spinner.

Harbhajan proved to be India’s hero in the 2001 Test against Australia after making the cut in the playing XI following an injury to Anil Kumble. He went on to take 32 wickets in the series, including a hat-trick at the Gardens of Eden as India won 2-1.

Read also : ‘An all-time great’: Ganguly, Vaughan and others hail Joe Root as he completes 10,000 runs in Test cricket

There was no looking back for Harbhajan from then on as he became an integral member of India’s bowling attack in all formats. The former spinner was part of India’s 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup winning squads under MS Dhoni. He ended his international career with 417 Test wickets and 269 ODI wickets.

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Post expires at 3:08pm on Wednesday June 15th, 2022

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