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Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh get used to fatherhood

India Today logo India Today 29-08-2016
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Away from national duty, cricketers and new dads Harhbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina are relishing their time with newly-born daughters. While Raina became father in May midway through the IPL, Harbhajan Singh and wife Geeta Basra welcomed their first child in the last week of July.

"See closely, you'll see the dark circles below my eyes. Hardly get much sleep these days," Raina joked in a frewheeling chat with INDIA TODAY on Sunday. "But, hats off to Priyanka (Raina's wife). She has really managed it well. No matter how much I am tired, just a glimpse of my daughter makes me feel rejuvenated immediately. There are of course some challenges at the start but then everything falls in place. (Goddess) Lakshmi has come to our home."

Harbhajan Singh can't hide his excitement either. In India for a few hours, he's ready to hop on to a flight back to London, finding it hard to stay away from his daughter.

"I am thankful to my employers Air India as because of them I can fly to London so frequently and spend time with my daughter there. I have realised that there is nothing bigger in life. Whether you play 100 Tests, win World Cup, get all the medals in the world... Nothing is bigger than this feeling. Your kids are your biggest medals. I am realising this now after becoming a father. Earlier, my friends used to say all this. Now I endorse it 200 per cent. I am really proud to be a dad," says the spinner who has 417 wickets to his name from 103 Tests.

Raina has even etched his daughter Gracia's name on his arm.

"We (he and his wife Priyanka) always wanted to have a daughter. It feels so good to see that daughters are winning medals for India. Daugthers have a special bonding with their father. I saw it myself with my didi in our family. There is happiness all around with a daughter," he says.

Sleep deprivation doesn't bother Harbhajan.

"When she sleeps, we sleep. When she is up, we are up. I am doing all to be a great dad to her. Just want to be the best one for my little one. Hopefully, I can fulfil all her needs. I just want to thank the almighty for giving me this lovely diamond. My respect for females has increased a thousand times after having a daughter. We are what we are because of them."

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While Raina is captaining India Green in the ongoing Duleep Trophy, Harbhajan opted out of the tournament.

"I don't want to miss this time with my daughter right now. I want to be with her. These moments are special. That is why I requested BCCI. I also want to congratulate them for taking the game to the USA. I am sure Team India will be missing Suresh Raina. He has been a fantastic cricketer for India. He will make a comeback soon. And, so would I," Harbhajan says as Raina chuckles.

"I am working hard, Duleep Trophy is on. We played well in the first match but didn't get the result we wanted. Playing with the pink ball for the first time that too under lights. It was a new experience. We'll improve soon," Raina added.

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