|Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh
Bangalore: Friday saw Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh report as India cricketers for the first time after a year and nine months, respectively. Both had been off top-bracket action for rather different reasons.
While injury, form and Ravichandran Ashwin’s emergence as a formidable off-spinner in all three formats kept Harbhajan out, Yuvraj had to battle against a rare type of germ cell cancer.
“It’s a great feeling... At one time, I couldn’t even think of again playing for India... Yet, today, I’ve reported for the T20 camp,” Yuvraj told The Telegraph after a session at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
As happy was Harbhajan.
Speaking exclusively at the ITC Gardenia, Harbhajan said: “I cannot but feel nice... My last appearance was in England (Trent Bridge Test) and I had to go back there, and play for Essex, to make my India comeback! Life has challenges.”
Asked if he’d be under pressure on his return (which could be in Vizag, against New Zealand, on September 8), Harbhajan smiled and replied: “Pressure kyon? One should have fun in life and I intend enjoying myself. Main relaxed hoon.”
Harbhajan added: “It’s not that I have to go to war in a few days... Khelna hi to hai.”
Pointing to Yuvraj, Harbhajan got a bit emotional. “It’s easy to give up, but look at him... Look at what he went through and, then, emerged a winner... Yuvi’s is such an incredible story.”
Harbhajan has completed 14 years of international cricket, while Yuvraj is just weeks away from completing a dozen years.
Coach Duncan Fletcher and some of the other members of the support staff had a 20-minute meeting with Harbhajan and Yuvraj, possibly chalking out their training programme for the next few days.
Besides Harbhajan and Yuvraj, Lakshmipathy Balaji (another comeback man), Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Ashok Dinda have also reported for the camp at the NCA.
All are in the squad for the two T20 Internationals against New Zealand and the World T20. The Mahendra Singh Dhonis are, of course, currently busy with the second and final Test.