‘Bhajji, always loved your aggression on the field’

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, bringing down the curtain on a 23-year career in the sport.

The feisty 41-year-old made his international debut in 1998 and played 103 Tests, 236 one-day internationals and 28 Twenty20 internationals, taking 711 wickets across the three formats and winning the 2011 ODI World Cup and the 2007 T20I World Cup.

He last played for India in a T20I in 2016, but has continued to play in the Indian Premier League, turning out for the Kolkata Knight Riders in three matches in the 2021 season.

He finishes his career as the country’s fourth-highest wicket-taker in Tests, after Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Ravichandran Ashwin.

His former team-mates including Sachin Tendukar, VVS Laxman, and current players like Yuzvendra Chahal and Mayank Agarwal paid tribute to the off-spinner on Twitter:

Sachin Tendulkar: “What a wonderful and fulfilling career Bhajji! I first met you at India nets in ’95 – over the years, we’ve been part of wonderful memories.

You have been a great team man, playing with all your heart. Both on the field and off it – it is always fun to have you as part of any team. I cannot forget all those moments of laughter.

You have done your best for India in your long career, we are all very proud of you. Wishing you happiness and success in the ‘doosra’ phase of your career.”

VVS Laxman: “Hearty congratulations to my great mate @harbhajan_singh on a remarkable career! A tremendous exponent of off-spin, a gifted batsman and a true competitor who fashioned many a wonderful Indian victory. Best wishes for the future, Bhajji, go well!”

Irfan Pathan: “Happy Retirement brother @harbhajan_singh You have been an absolute legend. Always loved your aggression on the field. It was pleasure playing for India alongside you. My favourite memory of us is winning the world t20 and VB series for India !”

Gautam Gambhir: “Those who say cricket is becoming a batsman’s game should look at your career. You’re a true superstar @harbhajan_singh!”

Parthiv Patel: “More than a truly great player, Bhajju Pa was always a big brother for all the juniors.  @harbhajan_singh would make us laugh all the time and was someone who always made the dressing room like our home. Best wishes in your new innings. #harbhajansingh”

Yuzvendra Chahal: “Congratulations  Bhajji paa on an amazing career. Thank you for always supporting me like a big brother. Best wishes for the future @harbhajan_singh paaji”

Shubman Gill: “A player who gave it his all and never backed down from a challenge. Congratulations on a wonderful career @harbhajan_singh Paaji. You will be missed. I wish you the very best in your future endeavours.”

Shikhar Dhawan: “Congratulations on a wonderful career Pajhi Your contribution to cricket has been immense and it was a pleasure to play alongside you Enjoyed our great moments together on and off the field. Wishing you luck for your next innings @harbhajan_singh”

Suresh Raina: “Your contribution to Indian cricket will always be cherished , @harbhajan_singh paaji wishing you all the best for your future”

Mayank Agarwal: “Congratulations @harbhajan_singh for a wonderful career. I remember as a kid watching you take that hattrick against Australia in 2001. Thank you for the great memories Bhajji paa. I wish you best for the journey ahead.”

RP Singh: “Bhajju Pa with 711 international wickets has been a legend but he was always been a very humble teammate and inspiration for all the boys who came from the small towns. I am sure your new innings will be as [email protected]_singh”

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