New Delhi:After being at the heart of one of the ugliest controversies to hit cricket in recent times, Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh remains unfazed.
The Australians may choose to believe otherwise but the turbanator insists he is not arrogant but just a fighter.
In an exclusive interview to NDTV, the off-spinner also said his confidence was misunderstood by the Aussie fans and media for arrogance. And that he will continue to fight for his rights, especially when he is not in the wrong.
"Deep down the Aussies love me... because I'm a fighter," says Harbhajan.
The colourful off-spinner, who, along with Andrew Symonds figured prominently in the racism saga in Australia, asserted that he would not take it lying down if his integrity was questioned.
"I'm not arrogant but I do stand up for my rights (especially) when somebody questions my integrity," he said.
About his experiences on the Australia tour, he said, "This has been the toughest cricket I have played in my career. I feel proud that we have come back as winners. We have managed to do something that teams that went to Australia before us could not do. Especially if you consider we had a young team."
"The last three months were really tough for me but I chose to answer with my bat and not through statements. Hats off to the BCCI and the Indian public for standing by me during those tough times," he added.
Since the Sydney controversy, Harbhajan was greeted with boos by the hostile Australian crowd wherever he went but the off-spinner said he took it in his stride.
On the future of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Harbhajan said he was very optimistic about its potential. "IPL will be a huge success. I am looking forward to playing against my own teammates from the national team."
When asked about India's recent defeat in the Olympic hockey qualifiers, the cricketer said, "I feel sad to see hockey in this state, but this is not the end of the world. Even we lost in the first round of the cricket world cup but then came back to win T20 and in Australia."