Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh who has had several victorious battles with many Australian batsmen has opened up on how his countrymen could counter Steve Smith. Steve Smith has started the home summer with a bang against India, slamming consecutive ODI tons and racing to it in 62 balls only, leading Australia to convincing victories. Harbhajan Singh has advised leggie Yuzvendra Chahal on how he could get the former Australian captain’s wicket early.
Steve Smith has been in an ominous form in the ODI series, amassing 209 runs in two games with 25 boundaries and six sixes under his belt. None of the Indian bowlers seems to have found the formula to slow the 31-year old as he has milked all the bowlers for runs. It is indeed danger signs for the visitors, keeping in mind that the two sides will also lock horns in T20Is and Test cricket, a format in which Smith holds the number one ranking.
Harbhajan Singh underlined that he would like to see Steve Smith batting more against the spinners, suggesting the captain Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to bowl in tandem in seven or eight overs. The 103-Test veteran reckons that Smith is someone who likes pace on the bat and that the Indian bowlers need to take that away from him.
“I would like to see Smith batting against spinners. You know, Yuzvendra Chahal or maybe Kuldeep Yadav coming in, in the side. They both bowling in tandem and bowl 7-8 overs of spin when Smith comes in. Steve Smith is someone who likes pace on the bat if you take that away from him for some time that might be the key point to get him out,” Harbhajan Singh said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
I don’t see anything wrong going with Chahal: Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh further said that Yuzvendra Chahal is not bowling badly and that it’s only the conditions, which is vastly different from what it was in the UAE. The former off-spinner agreed with Virat Kohli’s statement that Australia know about their wickets and ground dimensions better. Hence, Harbhajan advises the leg-spinner should bowl a little slower in the air and he might see some turn on the pitch.
“I don’t see anything wrong going with Chahal. It’s the conditions, it’s purely the different conditions what they get in Australia and what they were getting in UAE. It’s just as Virat said, Australians know their wicket better than others and they are taking their chances against him [Chahal]. So, my advice to Chahal would be to keep working harder on his game and bowl a little bit slower in the air if possible and you might see some turn on the wicket,” the 41-year old added.