Milestone Man: Taking a Look at Harbhajan Singh's Cricket Career

In the course of his 23-year-long career, he went on to break and create several records.

4 min read

One of the greatest off-spinners in the history of world cricket, Harbhajan Singh, 41, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, 24 December.

Nicknamed 'The Turbanator', he made his debut in international cricket at the age of 17 in 1998. In the course of his 23-year-long career, he went on to break and create several records. The Quint takes a look at a few:


First Indian Player to Take a Hat-Trick in Tests

Harbhajan created history in 2001 when he became the first Indian player to take a hat-trick in Test cricket. During the second Test match against the mighty Australians at Eden Gardens, Harbhajan dismissed Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne, helping India win the match by 171 runs.

He finished the match with figures of 13/196 but lost out on the man of the match award to VVS Laxman, who scored a magnificent 281, which put India in a commanding position in the match.

Most-Wickets by an Indian Bowler in a 3-Test Series

He also finished the 2001 Border-Gavaskar series with 32 wickets in three matches at an average of 17.03, which is the most wickets by an Indian bowler in a three-Test series.

Axar Patel (27 wickets against England in 2020-21), R Ashwin (27 wickets against New Zealand in 2016/17) and Anil Kumble (24 wickets against Australia in 2003-04) are next on the list.


Second Best Match Figures in Tests by an Indian Bowler

In the same series, he also registered the second-best match figures by an Indian bowler in Tests. His 15/217 in the third Test match at Chennai helped India win the series 2-1.

Second on the List of Most Wickets for India Against Australia in Tests

Harbhajan also has the second most wickets for India against Australia in Tests. He has played 18 Test matches against Australia, picking 95 wickets at an average of 29.96, in which he has taken five wickets in an innings seven times and ten wickets in a match three times.


Fourth Highest Wicket-Taker for India in Tests

Harbhajan Singh has taken 417 wickets for India in 103 Tests at an average of 32.46.

He is the fourth-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket, behind Anil Kumble (619 wickets from 132 matches), Kapil Dev (434 wickets from 131 matches) and R Ashwin (427 wickets from 81 matches).

Harbhajan has also taken five wickets in an innings 25 times and ten wickets in a match five times.

221 Wickets in a Winning Cause

Out of his 417 wickets, 221 have come in a winning cause at an average of 22.76 in 42 matches, 111 have come in drawn matches, while 85 have come in lost causes.


Second Youngest to Take 400 Wickets in Tests

Harbhajan Singh is the second-youngest player to take 400 wickets in Tests. In 2011, at the age of 31 years and four days, he took his 400th Test scalp against West Indies.

Only Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (29 years, 273 days) is ahead of him, while England's Stuart Broad (31 years, 271 days) and Australia's Shane Warne (31 years, 346 days) are behind him on the list.

ODI Records


Third Youngest Indian Debutant in ODIs

Harbhajan Singh made his ODI debut at the age of 17 and 288 days, thus becoming the third-youngest player to play ODI cricket for India. Only Sachin Tendulkar and Maninder Singh were younger than him when they played their first ODI game for India.

Second on the List of Most Wickets by Indian Spinners in ODIs

With 269 wickets from 236 ODIs, Harbhajan Singh is second on the list of most wickets by Indian spinners in ODIs.

Only Anil Kumble has more wickets than him in ODIs (337 wickets from 271 matches), while Ravindra Jadeja is behind him (188 wickets from 168 matches).


Second Youngest Indian Bowler to Take 5 Wickets in an ODI

Harbhajan Singh is the second youngest Indian bowler to take five wickets in an ODI. He took 5/43 against England in 2002 at the age of 21 years and 215 days.

Only Irfan Pathan (20yrs, 306 days) is ahead of him, while Anil Kumble (23yrs, 41 days) and Sanjeev Sharma (23 yrs, 52 days) are behind him.

IPL Records

Fifth Highest Wicket-Taker in IPL

With 150 wickets from 163 matches at an economy rate of 7.08, Harbhajan Singh is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in Indian Premier League history. Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga (170), West Indies' Dywane Bravo (167), and India's Amit Mishra (166) and Piyush Chawla (157) are ahead of him.


Other Records

Harbhajan Singh is one of the only two cricketers to score two or more centuries and take more than 40 wickets against New Zealand in Tests.

In the 13 Test matches he has played against the Kiwis, he has scored 459 runs at an average of 32.79, with the help of two centuries. He has also taken 43 wickets against them. England legend Ian Botham was the first player to do so.

(Stats inputs by Arun Gopalakrishnan)

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