Kolkata: Considering his extremely good record at the Eden Gardens, out-of-favour spinner Harbhajan Singh on Tuesday likened the venue to a mother, who has always given something to her son, and hoped that it would yet again prove to be special for him as he aims to win Vijay Hazare trophy for Punjab.
Leading his state side in the ongoing domestic One-day trophy, Harbhajan is optimistic that he would be able to get a favourable result.
"Whenever I have come to Eden, I have never returned empty-handed. It has always been very special and close to my heart. Whether I play for India, Mumbai Indians or any other team, the Eden has given me everything. It has been like another mom to me. Hope it will be special again for us," the Punjab skipper said on eve of their quarter-final against Railways in Kolkata.
It was at Eden that he played a vital role in India's historic Test win against Australia in 2001 when he took 13 wickets. Then his IPL side Mumbai Indians also won the trophy here last year after defeating Chennai Super Kings in final.
Heaping praise on Sourav Ganguly, the ace off-spinner said the former India captain taught them how to win overseas.
"Dada was a brilliant captain, there is no doubt about it. He taught us how to win outside India. The way he led the team was an example for everyone. It was a difficult time for India with all the match fixing. I admire him a lot. He is a great human being.
"Dada has made a lot of comebacks. You can't make a comeback if you don't fight. I need to make a comeback. I'm working hard, fighting hard. And I'm sure things will fall into place if not today then tomorrow for sure," he said.
"I'm here to represent my team and my job is to do well as a leader. I have set my own standards and would continue to give myself the best shot. It doesn't matter how many people or who are watching the game.
"At the end of the day you are competing with yourself and want to get better at your game. If I do that I know, rest of the things will fall in place. Every game is an opportunity when you are not in the national side. I have done so well in the International side and I have done well with Punjab."
Harbhajan said Yuvraj Singh's availability for the quarters-final has boosted their chances.
"It's great to have someone like Yuvraj who is a match winner. It's very nice of him to come and play as he is supposed to go to Bangladesh. He knows the importance of this game, both for himself and Punjab."
Punjab topped the North Zone league with four wins out of five and Harbhajan said they have it in them to make all the way to end a Trophy drought for the state.
Asked whether he's looking forward to IPL, he said, "I'm not focussing on the IPL at the moment. My priority is winning this meet because for too long has Punjab not won anything."
"We have done well in the under-19 or under-25 but its time the guys take that performance to the next level. These are the same guys here. We are too good a side not to win any competition.
"We have come on the back of some good performances. Have won four out of five matches. We have a young side that can give the fight to any team and can go on to the next level.
"I tell them to go out and express themselves. Don't be shy of trying things because if you don't try you won't know what's in store. They are young but have potential to play in top level.
"It's a matter of time they play there. Guys like Mandeep Singh and Siddharth Kaul have done so well. Gurkeerat Mann is another youngster who is doing well," the Punjab skipper added.
With the last season's IPL mired in fixing controversy, Harbhajan urged senior players to take up more responsibility and clean the sport.
"Senior guys need to take more responsibility to clean whats happening. Cricket should be clean. These scandals are not good for cricket or the individuals. The game should be clean and whatever it takes, should be done. We should keep the dirty guys outside," he said.