Chennai: Harbhajan Singh, the India offspinner, has said he plans on adding at least 150 more Test wickets to his name before he ends his international career. Having played the last of his 101 Test matches in March before being dropped from the squad, Harbhajan was confident off crossing the 500-wicket mark despite his poor form.
"I don't dwell in the past. Yes, 100 Tests was memorable, but it's history for me. I believe in looking forward and I sincerely believe that I can take 150 more Test wickets," the 33-year-old told the Times of India. "The only competition I believe in is with myself. I know that if I am good at my craft, I will do well."
Asked about his exclusion from the Test team since he made his 100th appearance against Australia earlier this year, Harbhajan said: "I don't think I made any mistakes. I did reasonably well in the limited opportunities that I got. Yes, it could have been better, but I don't think I was below-par. I was the highest wicket-taker among Indians in the IPL, which I don't think is bad."
Harbhajan was in April dropped from India's squad for the Champions Trophy to prompt questions over his ODI future. In the IPL that followed, he was Mumbai Indians' joint-highest wicket-taker with 24 as the Reliance-owned team won the title for the first time. Harbhajan has not played competitive cricket since Mumbai beat Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 6 final on May 26, but is now with the squad preparing for the Champions League Twenty20 that starts September 21 with Mumbai taking on Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur.
Reflecting on the time since that memorable day, Harbhajan said he had been away from cricket. "Primarily, it was a holiday. But of course, I did my bit of training. I know my body well enough after so many years of cricket and always look to put in the hard work that is required to be in the best shape when the season starts," he said. "Right now, my aim is to do well for Mumbai Indians. We have been playing together for a few years now, we have won the IPL and this will be Sachin Tendulkar's last Mumbai Indians stint. So, we are all looking forward to it."
He was overlooked for India A's tour of South Africa and home series against New Zealand A and West Indies A, as well as the Challenger Trophy, the opener to the Indian domestic season. According to Harbhajan, this was not a concern. "Challenger Trophy and a large part of the series against West Indies 'A' coincide with the Champions League. Just look at the teams, none of the players who are playing Champions League are in any of the squads. So there's no reason for me to be worried about," he said.