I'm not there to make friends on ground: Bhajji

Published: Sunday, October 5, 2008, 12:38 [IST]
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HarbhajanSydney:  The infamous 'Monkeygate' controversy and the ban during the Indian Premier League (IPL) has not calmed down Harbhajan Singh and the temperamental offie is ready to turn on the aggression when the home series against Australia gets underway on Friday.

With the Australians desparate to conquer the 'final frontier', Harbhajan indicated that he is ready to face take on the world champions.

''Obviously when I play for my country I go out there to win games, I'm not there to make friends,'' Harbhajan said in a Fox Sports interview to air this week. ''So you'll expect the same sort of fighting spirit. I am very passionate about my game and I get involved in the game. I want to do everything right and I want to win each and every game for my country. That's the way I am and that's never going to change.'' The 'Turbanator' reffered to the martial tradition of the Sikhs as the reason behind his indomitable fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude.

''Being a Sikh, to go through the Sikh history, they have been warriors,'' he said. ''The same sort of blood is flowing in my body.

I'm a Sikh, so I don't like to lose. I'm a fighter and I'll fight to the end.'' Harbhajan said he grew up admiring the warriors of world cricket, parlicularly former Australian captain Steve Waugh.

''I think he's a great, great, great fighter, the best fighter I've ever seen on the field.'' However, the 28-year-old from Jalandhar is ready to learn from his tempestuous past, particularly the much publicised 'Slapgate' incident involving Team India colleague S Sreeshanth.

''We all make mistakes,'' Harbhajan said. ''With time you learn about life and things which you regret later on, I shouldn't have done that.

''But I'm not someone like a god. I'm human, people make mistakes. I must have made mistakes and I'm sure I've learned from my mistakes.'' Talking about his father's death in 2001, Harbhajan said he was contemplating quitting cricket to support his five sisters. But then he staged his comeback in spectacular fashion, claiming 32 wickets in three Tests during the home series against Australia.

''Luckily I made a comeback against the Australian team in 2001 and from there onwards, touch wood, things have been very good and God has been really kind. I think he was a great father and I miss him. I'm sure wherever he is, he will be happy watching me play for India.'' When asked about India's chances during the four-Test home series against formidable Australia, the off-spinner was confident that the Indians will prove equal to the challenge.

''We have a very good side and we are probably the only team that have given them a run for their money,'' he said. ''Every time they play against us, they know we are tough, especially when we play in India. We are a totally different team.'' Harbhajan has taken more Test wickets against Australia than any other country, with a majority of those scalps on Indian pitches.

He has a total of 291 Test wickets to his credit at an average of 30.87.


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