He has now a tally of 53 wickets in 2002. Born on 03.07.1980 at Jalandhar, Harbhajan Singh - the youngster from Punjab, made his Test debut against Australia in the 3rd Test at Banglaore in 1997-98 and was not an instant success.
He struggled to take two wickets in the first innings on debut and had figures of 23- 1-112-2 and 6-1-24-0 at Bangalore. His first 8 matches yielded only 21 wickets @ 38.57 with not a single five-wicket haul to boast of.
When everything seemed lost to him, he came back splendidly and changed his career graph commencing with the Test at Mumbai against the mighty Australians when they toured India in 2000-01. He was a roaring success in the three-Test series and captured a record haul of 32 wickets. He has never turned his back from then onwards.
Harbhajan Singh has accomplished the feat of taking 50 wickets in a calendar year twice in his short career spanning 30 Tests. He had performed a similar feat in calendar year 2001 when he took 60 wickets.
Following is the breakup of his bowling performance in the calendar years since his debut:
He has played against three opponents in 2002 - West Indies, England and Zimbabwe and his performance against these three countries with details of modes of dismissals is as under:
The entire career bowling record of Harbhajan Singh up to the end of the 2nd Test at Chennai reads as under:
The complete list of Indians who have figured in the elite list of those taking 50 or more wickets in a calendar year comprises M H Mankad in 1952, B S Chandrasekhar in 1976, Kapil Dev (twice) in 1979 and 1983, and Harbhajan Singh (twice) in 2001 and 2002. Dennis Lillee of Australia holds the world record for taking most wickets (85 in 13 tests in 1981 @ 20.95) in a calendar year.
Those who are on the verge of reaching the land mark of 50 or more wickets in 2002 are Anil Kumble of India (46 in 9 tests), Matthew Hoggard of England (45 in 10), Merv Dillon of West Indies (41 in 10) and Zaheer Khan of India (40 in 13). Shane Warne of Australia has every chance of becoming the 2nd player to reach 50 wickets in calendar year 2002 after Harbhajan Singh as he needs only 2 wickets to attain this land mark as at the end of the 2nd days play on 20.10.2002 in the 3rd and final Test against Pakistan at Sharjah.