Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has backed the Indian team to win the five-match Test series against England after their tremendous performance at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
The Indian team made a terrific comeback, especially after the Lord’s debacle. They were outplayed at the Mecca of Cricket and to make a comeback they did in Nottingham, is praiseworthy indeed.
“The English batting line-up looks more problematic than the Indian batting at the moment. They are playing as if they are touring India, and not the other way round,” Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Their batting line-up is more vulnerable to both pace and spin, and they look weak. Some of their first-choice batsmen have an ordinary record in domestic cricket, averaging 30-35 at best. In India, you have to average over 50 to be even considered. They have good depth in ODI cricket, but in Tests, their batting has not done much,” he further added.
Harbhajan Singh said that India had faced some unnecessary criticism
Harbhajan said India had faced a lot of unnecessary flak for their defeats in Edgbaston and Lord’s. India almost won the opening Test in Edgbaston. Harbhajan rued the fact and said had India won the match series would have been 2-1 in India’s favour now. However, he still feels the Indian team has a chance of winning the series.
“It is not easy to come and play in England. You cannot say that previous Indian teams did better here. Apart from 2007, when did we last win a series in England? We tend to over-react easily and criticise too early,” he said.
“It takes time to get used to conditions in England. You can practice as much as you want but match conditions are different from nets. The Birmingham Test was so close, and if India had won there narrowly (instead of losing), we wouldn’t have had so much criticism, and the series would currently be 2-1 to India instead.”
Harbhajan who was a permanent fixture in the Indian Test team in the mid 200’s said after India’s performance in Nottingham, he would back them to win the fourth Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
“After such a performance I back India to win the next Test in Southampton, and then anything can happen in the Oval Test. At the Oval, we could get a true Indian wicket with a lot of bounce and lateral movement is less there as well,” Harbhajan Singh said.
Harbhajan says India has a perfect chance of winning the series
“So, conditions could favour India, and we could even play two spinners. I think India has a very good chance (of winning the series 3-2).”
The off-spinner further stated the visitors were pretty unlucky at Lord’s, as the much was majorly affected by rain and the visitors had to bat in the difficult situations.
“At Lord’s conditions were very bad. England batsmen would have struggled there too, but India had bad luck. The Birmingham match was close. The big difference in this match was that India was able to put runs on the board,” he said.
“In such conditions, if you put 350 runs on the board, then India will be in the game. It was about putting your mind into it and how you can put those runs on the board,” he added.
Harbhajan hailed the bowling line-up and stated once you put runs on the board, the bowlers have something to play with.
“Once you put runs on the board, you can see the difference. In one spell, Hardik Pandya changed the game, which is a great thing from India’s point of view.
“India has a great bowling attack now, which they didn’t earlier. We had only Zaheer Khan and someone else trying to chip in, but now we have three good bowlers, and now we also have a fourth in Pandya.”
“In this match, he was matching up in terms of swing and pace to all other three pacers. It’s a blessing to have three-four proper pacers in the playing eleven, which has never happened before in the history of Indian cricket that I have played in or seen,” Harbhajan Singh concluded.