After Arjuna Ranatunga, Mitali Raj and Kapil Dev in past editions, it was the turn of ‘Turbonator’ Harbhajan Singh to take stage on day two of Goafest 2023.
The former India off spinner and Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha was in conversation with sports presenter and commentator Manish Batavia. Singh reflected on different aspects of his life in the session titled ‘Unearthing Future Talent: The Rise of Indian Cricketers from the Grassroots.’
Remembering the early days, Singh recalled how faith played an important part in his life. He says, “Losing my dad was the toughest period for me. We didn’t have too much money and due to financial constraints, I thought of leaving cricket and shifting to Canada and maybe driving a truck. Mehnat karne se darna nahi chahiye.”
But destiny had other plans.Fuelled by hard work and commitment, Singh went on to become who he is today.
Singh emphasised on the importance of a good leader and remembered his coach, his inspiration, Devender Arora and his then-captain Saurav Ganguly.
“The learnings and the guidance that I have received from my coach is unmatchable. Even today, if there are days I am confused about a cricketing decision, I still go back to him. And Saurav Ganguly helped me when no one did because everyone used to think I was short-tempered. He saw potential in me and had a strong belief that I can play for my country. He is my most special captain.”
In line with this year’s Goafest theme ‘The Future of Creativity,’ Singh was asked about how creativity in coaching has evolved.
He said, “Coaching is limited to a certain level. For people coming from the grassroots level, coaching is only a part till Under-16 or Under-19, after that it’s the management. You learn the skills needed during coaching but it is the hard work that hones the craft. So, the creativity here lies in the management. As I say, a happy team is a winning team. If you keep your players happy and take care of their requirements and needs, and you know how to bring the best out of the team players, that’s what creativity is for me.”
Singh also expressed the view that the Indian cricketing team should take more risks and include more people like Yashsavi Jaiswal and Rinku Singh.
It was also revealed during the proceedings that Singh is soon to release his book on his life.
Asked about his constant feuds with the Australian team, the former India player talked about how the media can sensationalise an incident. He quipped, “Media can sensationalise because that is what sells. Masala bahut bikhta hai!”
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