Taking his spot in the Team India for granted, spinner Harbhajan Singh confessed how hard it was to get sufficiently fired up to play first-class cricket, after he was dropped in 2013.
It wasn’t easy to accept that he was can no longer don the India uniform. “Test cricket and Ranji Trophy are not the one and the same thing, so one cannot give one’s 100%. I was told to play in Ranji Trophy in order to get my place back. When you’ve played at the highest level, it is difficult to be motivated at a lower level,” he said.
During the time, he admitted his bowling had suffered because he was “trying too hard to make things happen”. This led him to bowl quicker and flatter instead of tossing the ball up.
“When you lose it, it hits you hard and you realise, ‘May be I should have worked harder’. I am not saying I have lost the fire; it is still there. But when you do something for so long, monotony can creep in,” added Harbhajan.
It may be noted that Harbhajan has been brought back into the Indian team after a two-year hiatus, he appreciates how Test captain Virat Kohli and Team director Ravi Shastri made him feel wanted in the team. He was recalled for the one off Test against Bangladesh last month and the limited overs tour of Zimbabwe.
“Ever since I am bowling slower and giving the ball more air, I have been happy. Every match I have play now, I keep telling myself how lucky I am to be playing the game I love—a Ranji Trophy match, a domestic ODI or IPL tie. So why not enjoy every moment of it while it lasts?” he asked.
“I am in touch with my teammates and relive the memories I spent with them. Now I realise that this is my real earning. Though cricket will end one day, but these relations will last forever. So I am not complaining,” said Harbhajan.