New Delhi: Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh said that it was strange to put on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) jersey for the first time. Harbhajan joined CSK in 2018 after spending nearly a decade at Mumbai Indians with whom he won the Indian Premier League three times.
MI used to compete regularly with CSK for top honours in the league and Harbhajan said that matches between the two sides were like India-Pakistan encounters.
“First time, it was very strange. I was like ‘what is this? Is this a dream?’ Whenever we played against CSK, it was like India-Pakistan, it was a tough game. Then suddenly, I was not wearing blue and wearing yellow was difficult. It was very difficult to get used to,” he said in an Instagram Live interaction with CSK.
“Luckily, we played our first match against Mumbai. I was like, ‘it was good we got over this match early’. Throughout the first season, it was difficult. After that, we won the trophy. The second season was better,” he said.
The 39-year-old won the 2018 title with CSK before losing to MI in the final in 2019. At CSK, he was reunited with his Indian teammate M.S. Dhoni. The pair were part of the Indian teams that won the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup.
He said that Dhoni has always been a quiet person and was quite shy in his early days with the team.
“We have played a lot of cricket together, we have toured a lot of countries together West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia. MS was a very shy guy. He never used to come to our rooms. He used to be on his own. We used to hang out with Sachin [Tendulkar], Zaheer [Khan], Ashish [Nehra] and Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh]. MS was a very quiet guy,” Harbhajan said.
“And then the 2008 series happened. The Test match (Sydney) got everyone together in the Indian team. Those moments made us believe ‘we are all together in this’. From that time onwards, he started opening up a bit and started sitting with us. Of course, he was a young guy.”
“But even after he became captain, he was quite shy. When he used to give suggestions, he came to us. He still remains the same. He will not tell you what field to set and what not to.
“Not just me, but everyone. A guy like Deepak Chahar, he gave everything the freedom he needed to explore himself. That’s something everyone should learn from him giving you the space you need to a bowler or a batsman is a very, very important,” Harbhajan said.