Chennai: Harbhajan Singh is experiencing a mixture of emotions after being told on the eve of the first Test against Australia in Chennai that he will make a comeback to the Indian squad on Friday for a landmark 100th appearance.
The series opener at the MA Chidamabaram Stadium will see the 32-year-old offspinner become the tenth Indian cricketer to the landmark of 100 Tests and admitted a bit of anxiety. "It's a big game," said Harbhajan in the pre-match press conference. "(The previous) 99 are gone. Obviously a bit nervous but I am sure I will be fine. I have faced these situations before."
It has been a long wait for Harbhajan to reach 100th Tests, following over a year out of the Test team and then being dropped after a lackluster 99th appearance against England at the end of 2012. Secure with the knowledge that he would reach No. 100, Harbhajan said he hoped to extend that to 150 Test caps.
The offspinner admitted to being nervous after being confirmed for the first match against Australia in Chennai.
"I have gone through times when I was not doing well or when I was doing well and got too excited. These things happen. Bit nervous to start with, but I will be fine. Once I get away with 100, we will see what needs to be done to play another 50-odd. Probably I will have to work even harder," he said.
Harbhajan has taken 408 wickets from 99 Tests at an average of 32.27 and a strike-rate of 68.1. He boasts an impressive record against Australia in Tests - 90 wickets at 29.35 - and it is poignant that he will play his 100th against them. It was against Australia in the epic series of 2001 that he shot to fame with 32 wickets in three Tests.