CHENNAI (TIP): The little Sardar whohad Greg Blewett’s off bail flying high 15years ago in Bangalore with a doosra hascome a long way.Harbhajan Singh still remembers hisfirst wicket in Test cricket, as if ithappened yesterday, but there’s no time forhim to delve into nostalgia. The Turbanatoris finally playing his 100th Test match andhe knows if he is not firing straight away,he might not be playing his 101st.

When somebody asked whether he islooking to recreate the magic of 2001, Bhajjismiled. “There’s no point thinking about itanymore. It was a once-in-a-lifetime series.But yes, I will give my best, but whether Iget 32 wickets or 23, it’s another matter,”Harbhajan said.The off-spinner has seen quite a few upsand downs in his career and is now wiserfor that. “I had made a few mistakes in lifebut I learnt a lot from this roller-coasterride that I had. I have played with so manygreat players — Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid -and they taught me never to give up,” Bhajjisaid, talking about the journey.

Kumble, too came up for discussionand the offie, with 408 Test wickets, said:”Obviously it was great to have Kumbleon the other side. One thing about himwhich really stood out was his intensity.Even if he was bowling the 30th over, heused to come with the same gusto andthat’s what pushed me as well.”The conversation veered back to his100th Test and the feisty sardar didn’t mindsaying that he would be a bit nervous tostart with.”But once it starts, I think I will befine and look to enjoy the occasion.”He is no longer an automatic choicein the team and does that bother him?Harbhajan smiled again. “Why third? Idon’t mind being the fourth spinnereither, as long as I am playing forIndia.”

BCCI congrats offie, wants 2001 encore

The BCCI wants Harbhajan to regain the form of the 2001 series when he bamboozled the Aussies with a bagful of wickets. “Congratulations @harbhajan_singh on playing his 100th Test tomorrow. Let this series be an encore of 2001. Good luck!” BCCI tweeted on February 22, confirming the news of his selection in the playing XI.