Harbhajan Singh reveals how he has evolved as a human being during the time he was in the dumps

Harbhajan Singh made a comeback into the Indian team against odd and expectations. It must have been a humbling experience for a guy who has take close to 700 wickets in Tests and One-Day Internationals to be sidelined for two years and not knowing if his efforts to comeback will be ever rewarded.

Rewarded, he was. But as he reveals in an interview to BCCI.tv, he was rewarded in ways that were not visible to the cricket fan. The downswing in fortunes changed Harbhajan as a person. As he says in the interview: “I made a conscious decision to be happy, no matter what. Because I realised there is more to life than cricket. As international cricketers we are so consumed by this small world around us that consists of cricket grounds, hotels and airports that we lose touch with the outside world. Every small setback inside our little bubble seems so big. Spending these two years away from all that helped me put things in perspective. I realised that even when you are playing, you have to learn to leave the game to the ground. Earlier, I used to bring it back with me to my hotel room. I used to play one match on the ground and then another in my room in my head. I used to analyse my bowling, probably more than the experts did. There were times when I picked wickets and everyone was all praise for me. But in my head I knew I didn’t bowl well. In the last couple of years I have calmed down a lot in that regards. Yes, cricket is something that gives me the most happiness. It has given me so much in life that no matter what I do, I will never be able to repay it. But at the same time, there is other life away from cricket. And I have realised that now. Once you start living that life, you will be more relaxed and happier, which will eventually make you better at your sport.

Harbhajan spoke about the support system in his life, like family and friends, in his phase where he evolved as a person. “My family members saw me and thought, ‘What has happened to him? He doesn’t talk to anyone, has become so irritable and moody’. They were really worried about me. The anger and frustration had crept into my nature and personality, which was not right and I had to help myself to get out of that. I had no right to behave in such manner with my family, friends and close ones because it wasn’t their fault that I was dropped from the Indian team. Then I decided to change my ways for them and get out of that negative place I was in. And they were always there, helping me get out of it. I made a conscious effort to forget everything else and be grateful for these people around me. Since I made that change, I have been happy. Every match I have played after that, I played it telling myself how lucky I was to be playing the game I love, whether it is a Ranji game, a domestic one-day game or in the IPL. I was living a dream. This dream has to end one day so why not enjoy every moment of it while it lasts? I was in constant touch with my friends in cricket as well, relived some fine memories with my old team-mates and spent time with them. I realized that this is my real earning. My life in cricket will end one day but these friendships and the brotherhood will last forever. So, why am I complaining?”

The candid interview indicates a mature Harbhajan who is more philosophical who puts life in the right perspective