India National Cricket Team
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India was forced to wait after they were defeated by South Africa on Sunday in Perth, preventing them from securing a place in the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinals. After Lungi Ngidi and the other South African pacers destroyed the Indian top five in the first 10 overs, Suryakumar Yadav’s superb 68 off 40 balls helped India to a score of 133/9 in their innings.

The Proteas crossed the finish line thanks to half-centuries from Aiden Markram and David Miller while India pushed South Africa to the edge in the chase. South Africa was able to overtake India and take the top spot in the group table as a result.

Harbhajan Singh, a former Indian spinner, believes that although it is not time to panic, the team should think about switching up the opening lineup in light of KL Rahul‘s ongoing difficulties. Rahul has been out of the game for single-digit scores in three straight innings.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. Pic Credits: Twitter.

Harbhajan Singh Wants Rishabh Pant To Replace Struggling KL Rahul

“They may have to take some tough calls, the team has to think about it going forward. KL Rahul is a great player, we all know that, he is a match winner. But if he is struggling with his form like this, I think you should bring in Rishabh Pant,” Harbhajan said on Sports Tak.  

During the South African innings, wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik limped off, and Pant took his place behind the stumps. According to Harbhajan, India can replace Karthik in the lower middle order with Deepak Hooda, giving the squad an additional spin option, while Pant can remain the wicketkeeper and replace KL Rahul at top of the order to give India a left-right combination. 

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant, (Image Credits: Twitter)

“Karthik looks injured, I don’t know what his status is. If he is not, Rishabh Pant can open the innings with Rohit Sharma. You get a left-right combination like that. You can also bring in Deepak Hooda and he can even bowl a few overs,” he said. 

India Should Bring In Yuzvendra Chahal In Place Of Ravichandran Ashwin: Harbhajan Singh

Additionally, Yuzvendra Chahal should be substituted for Ravichandran Ashwin, according to Harbhajan, and leaving out the former was a mistake. In the tournament, Chahal has yet to play a single game, and Ashwin ultimately gave up 43 runs in just four overs against South Africa. 

“I also feel they should bring in Yuzvendra Chahal in place of Ashwin. He is a bowler who takes wickets. You don’t mind giving away runs as long as you take 2-3 wickets. Chahal is a big match-winner and he is among the highest-ranked T20 bowlers in the world,” he said. 

Yuzvendra Chahal India
Yuzvendra Chahal. Image Credits: BCCI

“They might be going with experience and that’s why they may be selecting Ashwin. Their team also had a lot of left-handers and they may have looked at that factor as well. But I feel that if you have a good bowler, he will bowl well regardless of whether it is a left-hander or right-hander on strike.

This is just about the thought process. Chahal has made his reputation by taking wickets, he has proven he is a big-match winner in these smaller formats. I don’t think there is a better leg-spinner than him.

It is a mistake to not let him play and if it was in my hands, I wouldn’t have let this mistake happen in the first place because I would have included him in the squad.” 

Also Read:IND vs SA: ‘Deepak Hooda Had To Play Smart Cricket’- Sunil Gavaskar Unhappy With Indian Batter’s Shot Selection vs South Africa