Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who Friday became the third Indian bowler to get 400 Test wickets, hoped the next 200 wickets would come quickly as tweakers tend to mature after turning 30.
The 31-year-old picked up West Indies captain Darren Sammy (20) and Carlton Baugh (60), on the second day of the third Test, within space of nine balls to become the 11th bowler in the history of the game to achieve the milestone.
Harbhajan admitted that he had to struggle hard to get the last seven wickets.
“I’m only 31…and even though the last seven wickets have made me work harder, (I’m hopeful) the next 200 will come very soon,” said Harbhajan, who had spent 13 years in international cricket.
“I have faced a lot of ups and downs in my career — mostly downs. I’ve worked hard for these wickets. Spinners mature with age. Most of them, be it Anil (Kumble) bhai, Shane Warne, (Muttiah) Muralitharan took a lot of wickets after they turned 30,” he said.
Harbahajan said there is lot of cricket left in him.
“Time is on my side; I am still very young and there is a lot of cricket left in me. I have to start doing even better for Team India and start taking a lot of wickets. If I keep myself fit, I will be able to do it.
“It’s not easy to take even one wicket in international cricket. Batsmen are watching you all the time. You have to keep adding variations. Just line and length is not enough. You have to make sure you are not left behind. Off-spinners now are coming to bowl from round the wicket. You have to keep trying new things,” Harbhajan said.
“Batsmen these days come and play their shots. I remember 10 years back, all the bowlers were averaging 25, 26 or 27. These days the normal average is 30 plus.
“When I have my good days, I take wickets. On bad days, I try not to give too many runs,” he added.
Harbhajan said it was Kumble, the former India captain, who helped him to mature as a spinner.
“Anil bhai was a very big bowler for Team India. After he left, there’s been a lot of responsibility. The good thing is that Zaheer has been there to take it.
“I have the greatest of regard for Anil bhai. It was he who made us believe that we could win Tests abroad. We had a meeting in Sri Lanka where he said we should be number one in two years time. Exactly two years later, we are number one,” he said.
“I respect him the most. He was a great bowler and a greater individual. He has helped me a lot to become what I am today. I know when I need his help, he is just a phone call away.”