In international cricket, there have been a series of instances when a bowler has had the better of a particular batsman on numerous occasions, thus making the batter a ‘bunny’.
For example, fast bowler Zaheer Khan and his record against Graeme Smith, Yuzvendra Chahal repeatedly bamboozling Glenn Maxwell and many more.
Similarly, legendary off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had the better off Ricky Ponting on numerous occasions, in all formats of the game.
Also, the rivalry between the two on the field proved to be one of the high-octane ones in the history of Indo-Australian cricketing ties. Now, Bhajji has opened up to the time Ponting got dismissed by just looking at his face.
“The first time I dismissed Ricky Ponting was in Sharjah. It was an ODI match and I got him stumped. After dismissing him, I said something to him that I didn’t know much about. My English wasn’t too good at that time, I had heard that word from a lot of people, so I also said that” Bhajji said on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected.
Bhajji’s watershed moment in career arrived during the iconic 2001 Border-Gavaskar series, which India won by 2-1. Ponting’s dismal series involved him scoring three ducks in the series and amassing a paltry 17 runs in five innings.
“After that when the 2001 series happened it felt like he was not playing the ball but getting out just by watching my face. He was not focusing on the ball at all, if he was focusing on the ball I don’t think anyone would get out so many times and that too so easily,” the veteran spinner added.
The Kolkata Test match is primarily remembered for the marathon match-winning partnership between Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. However, it was the magic spell from Bhajji during the same game, which involved a hattrick, that turned the match on its head.
“Because of that, I got banned from the next match. But my memory is that when he got out and I signaled him to go out, he came towards me with his bat as though he was going to hit me. So, I got a bit scared if he would really hit me.” Harbhajan said.
Further, the Punjab tweaker revealed why Ponting’s wicket during the infamous 2008 Sydney Test was particularly special.
“My special celebration for Ricky Ponting was in Sydney. Because he had said that I have dismissed him a lot of times in India but it would be difficult to do so in Australia. There also I dismissed him off the first delivery, so I accompanied him almost to the pavilion, doing somersaults all along the way,” Harbhajan concluded.