Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has leapt in support of Indian captain Virat Kohli, who is under pressure after the ODI series loss to Australia. Virat Kohli’s captaincy has come under the scanner, mainly in terms of team selections and tactics as Australia beat India in the first two games convincingly. Harbhajan Singh feels that captaincy is not affecting the right-handed batsman.
The Australian batsmen have taken the Indian bowlers to the cleaners, plundering 374 and 389 in the first two games respectively after batting first. The bowlers have mainly looked clueless against Steve Smith, who has smashed two consecutive centuries off 62 balls to raise the tempo in the middle overs. Furthermore, the new-ball bowlers have also struggled to pick wickets in the first ten overs, allowing the hosts’ openers to compile two century stands.
Harbhajan Singh believes that captaincy is not a pressure for Virat Kohli and instead he enjoys the challenge, preferring to lead the team from the front and by example. The 103-Test veteran believes that a single player cannot win games for the team and that one or two other players need to step up consistently. Harbhajan feels that with that, Virat could bat more freely and enjoy his game. He was also glad that KL Rahul was stepping up gradually to the task and being amongst the runs. Kohli tried his best in both the games but the task proved to be too much.
“I don’t think Kohli is under any kind of pressure with captaincy, don’t think it’s a burden for him. I think he enjoys those challenges, he is a leader, who leads from the front and sets example for the team to do the needful. For the team to win games. I don’t think captaincy is affecting Virat Kohli as it’s obviously one guy cannot win you the game. As I said, even after the World Cup, you know you have Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, standing and taking the team forward and scoring most of the runs. It’s good to see KL [Rahul] performing but you need couple of more guys consistently doing well for Team India. So the pressure can shift off a little bit from Virat so that he can bat freely, he can do what he needs and also enjoy the game,” Singh told India Today.
I would like to see Smith batting against spinners: Harbhajan Singh
The former Indian off-spinner further said that he would like to see Steve Smith facing spin-bowling more, suggesting that India must bowl Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Singh for seven or eight overs in tandem. Harbhajan Singh added that since Smith likes pace coming on the bat; hence, it’s crucial 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,” he added.