Arguably one of the most skilful off-spinners the Indian cricket ever produced, Harbhajan Singh has played against some of the greatest batsmen of the game. During his long 18-year international career, Harbhajan has faced top-quality batsmen like Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, Kumar Sangakkara, Inzamam-ul-Haq and the list goes on.
But who are those few, whom Bhajji himself found challenging to deal with? Well, Harbhajan himself revealed during an Instagram chat session with former teammate Rohit Sharma on Thursday. The offie named five such batsmen who according to him were the toughest to bowl against.
Harbhajan started the proceeding by naming former South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis. The Proteas legend has an impressive record against Indian spin bowlers. Harbhajan said that he found difficulties while bowling against Kallis.
“I found Jacques Kallis very difficult to bowl at in Tests,” said the Punjab cricketer.
Kallis has amassed 13289 runs in Tests and 11579 runs in ODIs which is the highest by any South African batsman. He has smashed 45 Test tons – second most after Sachin Tendulkar (51).
Harbhajan picked Matthew Hayden as the second batsman who has troubled him a lot. Hayden is regarded as one of the most brilliant openers in cricket. The strong point of ‘Haydos’ was that he was outstanding against the spinners. His ability to sweep against the turners of the game made him one of the best players in his era.
Another left-handed batsman that Harbhajan found worth challenging was none other than the genius West Indies’ cricketer Brian Lara. Bhajji hailed Lara as a brilliant batsman. The swashbuckling batter retired after stockpiling 11953 runs in Tests and 10405 runs in ODIs.
The next batsman on Harbhajan’s list was former Pakistan batsman Younis Khan. The Indian off-spinner praised Younis for his class and said he made him feel like crying.
“Younis Khan troubled me a lot. All the time, he made me feel like crying,” added Harbhajan.
The veteran Pakistani batsman ended up scoring 10099 runs for his nation in 118 Tests with an average of 52.05.
Harbhajan selected the fifth batsman from the neighbouring country as well. The 39-year-old went with former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and addressed him as someone whom he finds difficulties in dismissing.
“Inzamam is also someone I found hard to dismiss. There are many, but I would choose these five,” concluded the Jalandhar-born.
Inzamam accumulated 8830 runs in Test cricket and 11,739 runs in ODIs for Pakistan.
Harbhajan has played 103 Tests and 236 ODIs for Team India, in which he has grabbed 417 and 269 wickets, respectively. 25 times, the right-armer took a five-wicket haul in red-ball cricket while 16 times he earned a four-wicket haul.