India cricketer, Harbhajan Singh has opined that the Indian team should groom more match-winners – other than Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – in India’s limited-overs batting line-up, particularly in the ODI setup if they intend to win a World Cup.
The Indian team suffered a painful defeat in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. Not to forget, India lost in the 2015 World Cup semi-final as well versus Australia. In both the tournament, the team had done really well in the league stage- topping the group stage on each occasion.
However, when stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma – both of whom were amongst runs in the league stage – were dismissed for low scores, no one else stepped up on the big occasion and were knocked out. Harbhajan Singh, the winner of the 2011 World Cup, addressed this issue.
KL Rahul is going to be a key player in the future: Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh suggested that the Indian team should have more match-winners around Kohli and Rohit. Bhajji gave the example of the semi-final against New Zealand. He said that Rohit and Kohli both were amongst runs in the league stage, however, when both got out cheaply in the semis, the team was put straightaway on the backfoot, and nobody in the top or the middle-order could bail the team out.
MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, who was batting at number 7 and 8 respectively gave some hope to the fans. The off-spinner says the team needs other players to give them the belief when Rohit and Kohli are dismissed early.
As quoted by India Today, Harbhajan Singh said, “They have to stop relying on 2 or 3 players. Last World Cup we saw Rohit Sharma was the key player and Virat is always there. But you have to have more match-winners in your team. India needs to create more match-winners around Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to win the World Cup.
“These two might get out early in pressure matches and then you have to have other players who can fill that slot and have that belief in them to still do the job for Team India.”
The 40-year-old has hailed KL Rahul as the right-hander had been in supreme form in white-ball cricket since the World Cup last year. He feels that the Karnataka batsman will be an important player in the future, and he is someone who will give belief to the team in the absence of Rohit and Kohli. Rahul was Man of the series in the T20Is against New Zealand and was the leading run-scorer in the IPL 2020.
“KL Rahul is doing a fantastic job and is going to be a key player for India going forward. We need more players like KL Rahul around Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma whom we can believe that yes these are the guys. Anybody can get out early but we need to have that belief in our team that anybody can win the game for them,” Harbhajan Singh added.