“Legends never retire.”
Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, the first Indian bowler to grab a Test hat-trick, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
In a tweet shared on December 24, 2021, the 41-year-old, who made his international debut in 1998, wrote:
“All good things come to an end and today as I bid adieu to the game that has given me everything in life, I would like to thank everyone who made this 23-year-long journey beautiful and memorable.”
“My heartfelt thank you. Grateful.”
The ‘Turbanator’ took the fourth-highest number of Test wickets for an off-spinner behind fellow Indian Ravichandran Ashwin and Sri Lankans Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath.
Harbhajan Singh last played for India in 2016, having taken part in 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 international T20s.
The cricketer continued to play in the Indian Premier League for the Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.
You turned many games for India. You won many for MI. You took to the field and played with passion for all the teams you represented over your long career! ??
Happy retirement, ?????????? ?????#OneFamily #MumbaiIndians @harbhajan_singh pic.twitter.com/oCBjnBOtPI
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) December 24, 2021
In a video posted on YouTube, he went on to say:
“There comes a time in your life when you must take some tough decisions and move ahead.
“I have been meaning to make this announcement for the last few years, but I was waiting for the right moment to share it with all of you.
“In many ways, I had already retired as a cricketer but hadn’t been able to make a formal announcement.
“I haven’t been an active cricketer for a while. But I had a commitment to Kolkata Knight Riders and wanted to spend the IPL season with them.
“But during the season itself, I had made up my mind to retire.”
The off-spinner was part of the India team who won the 2011 World Cup, taking nine wickets in the tournament, and he also contributed seven wickets in their 2007 T20 World Cup win.
He is also the fifth most successful bowler in IPL history, taking 150 wickets in 163 games.
He won four titles – three with Mumbai Indians and one with Chennai Super Kings in 2018.
Cricket fans took to social media to share their messages for the veteran spinner.
One user wrote: “I still remember your start in test matches against Australia in India where you ripped them apart.
“Who would have known that the skinny boy will become one of the best to play for India?”
“I have followed your journey from my school days to adulthood and I salute you for serving your nation and teams so well.
“Good luck for your next innings.”
Another added: “Thanks a lot for all the entertainment. You are one of the best off-spinners the world has ever produced.
“Your contribution to Indian cricket will be written in golden letters. Best of luck in your future endeavours.
“Legends never retire.”
A third commented: “Thank you for all the memories. You are one of India’s greatest finger spinners.
“The 2001 series and in every other series after that, you have proved that you are the go-to person to provide breakthroughs for your team and your captain.
“Hats off to your passion and commitment to the game.”