Murali Kartik reveals the joke Harbhajan came up with after a loss in Zimbabwe in 2005
One of the most colourful characters of the Indian cricket team, the veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is renowned for his bagful of pranks, which he has often pulled on his teammates. ‘Bhajji’, as he is popularly known to his teammates, has often made them laugh with his shenanigans and recounting one such incident, former Indian cricketer Murali Kartik revealed a funny dressing room story which took place during India’s tour to Zimbabwe in 2005.
India played a tri-nation ODI series featuring New Zealand and Zimbabwe as the other two teams and the incident took place after a match(Which Kartik was unable to recall) in which India were bowled out for a paltry total. When we looked back at the results of that particular tr-series, we found that India were skittled out for 164 in their very first match of the series against New Zealand and that might be the match Kartik was referring to.
Chasing a meagre total of 215, the Indian batting fell like a pack of cards and at one stage they were reeling at 44 for 8. Except Virender Sehwag, who scored 15, none of the other top-order and middle-order batsmen managed to register double-digit scores and India were on the brink of an ignominious defeat. Thanks to the efforts of Jai P Yadav & Irfan Pathan, who batted at number 9 and number 10 respectively, India managed to score 164 and saved them from the blushes. However, India eventually lost the game by 51 runs and all the players of the squad were in a sombre mood after the defeat.
In an attempt to lift the spirits of his disgruntled teammates, 'Bhajji' dished out one of his 'gems'. Karthik while talking to Vikram Sathaye in a popular TV show called Viu originals’ ‘What the Duck’ hosted by the later recalled, " We lost the match badly and were sitting with sad faces. Suddenly, Bhajji gets up and starts telling everyone to remove their bats and start counting them. We removed our bats. We had 110 bats amongst the 15 of us. And then Bhajji said, ‘Itne toh humne run nahi banaye jitney balle hai’ (we haven’t even scored these many runs).”
Harbhajan’s remarkable joke surely had everyone in splits and years later, one of his teammates Kartik recalled that with a wide smile on his face.India fared reasonably well in that tournament and also reached the final which they eventually lost to New Zealand.