After bowling every delivery, he would walk up to me and say ‘kya paaji’: Sachin Tendulkar recalls first meeting Harbhajan Singh

While India cricketers over the past three decades have fondly recalled their first meeting with Sachin Tendulkar, the latter flipped back the history pages to talk about his first meeting with off spinner Harbhajan Singh.

“I remember, I saw Harbhajan Singh for the first time in Mohali. This was in the mid-90s and somebody had told me that Harbhajan bowls Doosra very well,” Tendulkar recalled at an India Today event. “I was like ‘okay, call him to the nets’.”

“After bowling every delivery, instead of going back to the run-up, he would walk up to me and say ‘kya paaji’ and then go back. I would say, ‘nothing’. After he got into the team, he spoke about this. He said ‘Paaji, aapse ek baat karni hai’. He said remember the first time I bowled to you in Mohali. Now, I realised you would adjust your helmet and do this – so Bhajji would come and say kya chahiye paaji, I said nothing.. Then he would go back,” he added.

Harbhajan made his India debut in March 1998 and was part of the 2011 World Cup winning along with Tendulkar.

The duo also played together for Mumbai Indians during the six year period Tendulkar featured in the league, from 2008 to 2013.

On training and playing cricket post his international retirement in 2013 like in the Road Safety World Series, Tendulkar said, “It doesn’t happen so often. Earlier I used. Even after stopping to play cricket, I used to find some time to practice. Sometimes, with Mumbai Indians, I used to ask the bowlers to bowl to me. But, not really, not of late.”

“Only when I played those couple of tournaments in the last two years, that’s when I practice. Because, whenever I have a cricket bat in my hand, it should be serious business. It should not be for fun. Some fun elements will be there for me. But nothing should be taken for granted when you are playing for India and that’s my formula. My coach, my family and my brother said, everyone told me that ‘when you have your bat in your hand, don’t fool around’,” he added.

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