Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that the Indian team management should look beyond Ravichandran Ashwin in One Day Internationals and should try to bring back Kul-Cha, which is the duo of wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Kuldeep and Chahal played together for India for a very long time. However, since the 2019 World Cup, the duo has not played together on a regular basis. Overall they have played 36 ODIs together and picked 125 wickets between them.
Speaking to Sports Today on Tuesday, Harbhajan said that India should start looking for a bowler who could turn the ball both ways and he suggested the name of Kuldeep Yadav.
“I think these two guys (Ishant Sharma and Ashwin) have done really well for Team India, whether you talk about Test cricket or ODIs. With all due respect to R Ashwin, I think he is a champion bowler, but in ODI cricket, I feel, it’s time India start looking for an option, maybe someone who can take the ball in as well as out.”
“Someone like Kuldeep Yadav could be a great option. Why don’t we go back to Kulcha combination and see what they can bring to the table? They won have games for India. It will be a good thing to go back to them,” Harbhajan said.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal were a bit defensive with their approach – Harbhajan Singh
Former Indian off-spinner opined that Chahal and Ashwin, who were a part of the Indian team in the three-match ODI against South Africa, where India lost by 0-3, didn’t create opportunities and had a defensive approach.
“R Ashwin and Yuzi Chahal played in the South Africa series. They didn’t create too many opportunities with the ball, they were a bit defensive with their approach. There were times when they could have attacked the opposition by putting in another slip or another man catching in. And of course, wickets were very, very true. There is no doubt about it,” he said.
“But no matter how the wickets are, if you’re playing in the World Cup against any opposition, your job is to take wickets in the middle overs. It will come down to how you create opportunities as a bowler,” he added.
Harbhajan also backed the inclusion of mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy in the ODI team and said there is no harm in trying him.
“You need someone like Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bowling in tandem. You can also bring in another X-factor, someone like Varun Chakravarthy, there is no harm trying him again. You played him in those 2-3 games in the World Cup and you decided okay, he is not good enough,” he added.
The 41-year-old also said that India are missing the spark in the middle overs and they should bring back Kul-Cha or any other bowler who could get crucial breakthroughs in the middle-overs.
“We are missing that spark in the middle-overs where people are going for wickets rather than waiting for things to happen. When Kulcha played together, they were brilliant for the team in the middle-overs. Whenever they played together, they picked wickets and won games for India. I don’t know why they fell apart, why they were not given the opportunities after the World Cup. Maybe it’s time to bring them back or maybe some other X-factor who can take wickets in the middle-overs rather than just doing the containing work.”
Harbhajan further added that India can’t win many games if they fail to pick wickets in the middle-overs and he pointed out that India were also not capable enough to pick wickets with the new ball in the recently concluded series against South Africa.
“If you don’t take wickets in the middle-overs, I don’t think you are going to win many games. It’s also important to take wickets with the new ball which we were not capable of enough in the series in South Africa,” he added.
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