Saravanan said Bhajji’s interest in Tamil was genuine and not a publicity stunt for his IPL journey for CSK.
The irony was hard to miss when veteran Harbhajan Singh was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings to fill in for local star Ravichandran Ashwin. As the tall Chennai off-spinner had replaced Harbhajan in Dhoni’s Team India, many Super Kings fans were not too pleased about the management’s choice at the auction. Though it emerged that the pick was M.S. Dhoni’s personal choice, Bhajji had an onerous task in winning over the local fans off the field before he could step into the Chepauk stadium wearing the yellow jersey.
How the ‘Turbanator’ from Punjab has now become a darling of not just CSK fans, but also of the entire southern state on social media is an interesting story. The reason behind Harbhajan’s surge in popularity is his frequent tweets in Tamil and the man who is scripting those poetic words is an engineer from Chinnalapatti (in Dindigul district) — P. Saravanan.
The 27-year-old Saravanan has been an ardent fan of Harbhajan ever since the off-spinner performed a hat trick in the epic Kolkata Test of 2001. As Saravanan stood as a strong defender on social media from those who trolled Harbhajan time and again, the cricketer was bowled over by the fan’s sincerity.
“I finally met my idol when he came for a Ranji match in Dindigul. Since then, our relationship has gone from strength to strength. Now he treats me like his own brother. The most memorable day in my life was when Paji took to Twitter to acknowledge me as his No.1 fan,” said Saravanan who is currently working in Abu Dhabi.
Saravanan said Bhajji’s interest in Tamil was genuine and not a publicity stunt for his IPL journey for CSK. “His first Tamil tweet — a Pongal wish — was posted much before the IPL auctions. During the Chennai floods of 2015, he provided monetary support to those affected without making it public. After seeing the recent responses from his Tamil fans, he wants to do more social initiatives. And whenever I script a tweet, he doesn’t post it blindly. He asks me to explain and even improvises on it. I am just glad that Bhajji is taking Tamil to wider audiences,” said Saravanan.