New Delhi, July 6 (UNI) Admitting that his role in Team India has undergone a change since making his debut, Harbhajan Singh said he has come a long way from being a struggler trying to cement his place in the side to be the spin partner of Anil Kumble.
''I am not the same bowler what I was four years back. I am learning in every match (that) I am a different cricketer. When I started my career, I was trying to cement my place for the next match. Now my thinking is that I want to play longer and win matches,'' he said in an interview with Cricinfo.
''The team looks up to me because they know I have done it and they know I can do it. So with time my responsibilities have changed,'' he added.
Harbhajan said he enjoyed bowling in the one-day series in the Caribbean recently as he got a chance to come out of a lean patch.
''I enjoyed myself. I got wickets and I was quite happy with my bowling rhythm. The ball was landing where I wanted it to and was doing what I was trying,'' he said of his performance in the recently concluded tour of West Indies.
The off-spinner described the series against Australia at home as the turning point of his career and said the 32-wicket haul lifted his spirits to an altogether new high.
''The Australia series was the turning point of my career. It gave me the self-belief that I can do it. Before that I had never taken five wickets in Test cricket. In that series I took a total of 32 wickets in the series. I was in a daze. The confidence went to another level and the hunger kept increasing,'' he said recalling his successful run in the series when he took also took a hat-trick.
Showering praise on Kumble, Harbhajan said the veteran leg-spinner's achievements were unmatchable and he was privileged to play alongside him.
''I have to accept that nobody in Indian cricket has achieved what Anil Kumble has. I feel privileged I get to bowl with such a great bowler from the other end. I get to learn a lot from him,'' he added.
Refuting media reports that he ever had any trouble bowling with the Kookaburra and preferred the SG ball instead, Harbhajan said he never talked of any such preference and only spoke of the two balls being different from each other.
''It's something that people have made up. When I made that statement, I wasn't complaining. I was just saying that it's different bowling with the SG or Duke compared to the Kookaburra.
That story got blown out of proportion,'' he said.
He said the media was unfair in linking his poor run in the series against Pakistan and England to the types of balls but admitted that he was more used to bowling with the SG ball.
''I did badly in two games and people began relating everything to the ball. Even today I say, it's a different ball but I am not complaining. We play a lot in India and are used to playing with the SG,'' he said.
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