Roseau, July 12: Celebrated Indian off-break Harbhajan Singh may have just secured a major Test landmark with his career haul of 400 wickets. But such a feat doesn't satisfy the feisty tweaker. At 31-years of age and after chalking up 13 years with the senior Indian side, he wants to make the most of the last few years of cricket left in him and round off his career with 600 scalps.
"That's where I should be", said Harbhaj, speaking an interview with a leading cricket news agency. "If I don't reach there I will be disappointed. It will be my fault if I don't reach 600. It will depend on how badly I want to get there."
Bhajji often comes in for a whip-lashing from critics and detractors who pick on his faulty habit of bowling a middle and leg-stump line. But Harbhajan concedes that such flak is justified. He went on to admit that he had had a poor Jamaica Test recently due to such a reason. "For two days I just couldn't land the ball where I wanted, " said Harbhajan. "I tried my best, but it didn't happen. I felt disappointed and hurt."
In retrospection, Bhajji says his first few years were tumultuous as he had to contend with shouts of an illegal bowling action. That marked only one controversy in a spate of such over a career that has turned out to be a bumpy ride.
"When I was young my action came in to doubt. I had to go abroad and clear it. Those days I didn't even speak proper English. I couldn't talk at all with anyone. Then I was thrown out of the NCA. Then my father died, which was my lowest phase. Then that Sreesanth incident. I thought my cricket will be over after that."
Harbhajan names India's 2009 tour of New Zealand as perhaps his most prosperous outing. He was the lone off-spinner, bowling alongside three seamers. "Your role demands that your seamers remain fresh and you bowl a tight line. Don't try and do lots of different things. Make sure things are under control. There wasn't much in the pitch, and I bowled well".
When questioned on why he tends to bowl over-spin as against conventional side-spin, Bhajji pointed out that it is just his style. "It has been natural with me. I always had the bounce; it was the biggest thing I had. I get a lot of bat-and-pad gap. I try to stick to that".
Harbhajan added that after his 2001 Test series against Australia where he picked up 32 wickets in 3 Tests, he never considered himself playing second fiddle to leg-spinner Anil Kumble. "After that 2001 series against Australia, I never thought I want to be the second spinner in the team. I never felt I was the fourth bowler and that it my role was to get two wickets and go. I wanted to win games."
In conclusion, Bhajji said that he sees himself as a warrior."I am a warrior. I will put myself against anyone and I will give my best for all my friends, my team-mates, my country and myself."