DNA Exclusive: Harbhajan Singh claims MS Dhoni, BCCI forced him out of Team India


Widely regarded as one of the most successful Indian off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh called time on his illustrious career in December, announcing his retirement from all formats of cricket. Harbhajan recently spoke to Zee News editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary in an exclusive interview, wherein he touched upon various topics. The Turbanator dropped a big bombshell during his conversation, revealing how former Indian skipper MS Dhoni and some officials from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) forced him out of the national team. 

The 41-year-old has cemented his reputation as one of the best to have ever donned the famous blue Indian jersey. He has 711 scalps to his name, including 28 fifers and five 10-wicket hauls across all formats. Harbhajan feels that he could’ve added to that tally of wickets, although some ‘external factors’ were responsible for his ouster from Team India. 

“Luck has always favoured me. Just some external factors were not by my side and maybe, they were completely against me. This is because of the way I was bowling or the rate at which I was moving ahead. I was 31 when I took 400 wickets and if I would have played another 4-5 years, keeping in mind the kind of standards I had set for myself, I can tell you that I would have taken another 100-150 wickets or more,” stated Harbhajan in his exclusive chat with Zee News. 

He further added, “Yes. MS Dhoni was the captain then but I think this thing was above Dhoni’s head. To a certain extent, there were some BCCI officials who were involved in this and they didn’t want me and the captain may have supported that but a captain can never be above the BCCI. The BCCI officials have always been bigger than the captain, coach, or the team.”

Harbhajan also revealed how MS Dhoni had the backing of BCCI in a manner, which no other player could’ve had.

“Dhoni had better backing than other players and if the rest of the players would have got the same kind of backing, then they would have played as well. It wasn’t as if the rest of the players forgot to swing a bat or didn’t know how to bowl all of a sudden,” he pointed out. 

The Jalandhar born cricketer further continued, “Every player wants to retire wearing the India jersey but luck will not always be on your side and sometimes what you wish for, doesn’t happen. The big names that you have taken like VVS (Laxman), Rahul (Dravid), Viru (Virender Sehwag), and many others who took retirement later didn’t get the chance.”

‘Bhajji’ as he is fondly called by his fans, and fellow cricketers, expressed his desire for a biopic or a web series to be made on his life so that people can know his side of the story as well.

He said, “I would like a film or a web series made on my life so that people can also know my side of the story, what kind of a guy I am, and what I do.”

When questioned who’d play the role of the villain in his biopic, Harbhajan stated, “Can’t say who would be the villain in my biopic. There is not one but many.”

The legendary off-spinner also lauded BCCI president Sourav Ganguly as the best captain he had played under. 

“Ganguly included me in the team at a time when I was kept out of the team. I played well and also took a hat-trick later. I enjoyed a lot with Ganguly. He gave me the freedom to play and made me a better cricketer,” concluded Harbhajan. 


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