If Chahal playing in any other team, he would always be in playing XI: Harbhajan

Mumbai: Speaking exclusively during a virtual press conference ahead of the Greatest Rivalry on Star Sports, official broadcaster of the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, former Team India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh spoke about the absence of two players, Yuzvendra Chahal and Arshdeep Singh, from India’s World Cup team.

“In my opinion, there are two people missing in this team. First, Yuzvendra Chahal, and second, Arshdeep Singh. Because a left-arm seamer, if he can bring the new ball inside, it makes it useful in the game. If he can get two wickets early in the game, I’m not saying that right-handers can’t do that, but a left-hand seamer can get an actual angle to get the wicket,” Harbhajan said.

“You can see how Shaheen Shah Afridi or Mitchell Starc, they have a huge impact on the game. When Australia won the World Cup, Mitchell Starc had a huge impact on the games; he sent

Brendan McCullum out on the first ball. Incoming ball, with that speed, coming into a right-hander is always challenging. The second, being Yuzvendra Chahal, a proven match-winner, someone who has taken more wickets than any other spinner. If he was playing for any other country, I would think he would always be in the playing XI. But even after proving so much,” he said.

“I feel he should have been in the team. If I were part of the management, I would definitely play him in the team, because we are all stakeholders of Indian cricket and we want the Indian Cricket Team to do well. So, I feel these two boys, they could have been very handy in the World Cup, and especially in conditions where they know what to do and how to take wickets,” Harbhajan said.

“So, I believe these two guys are simply missed because we have selected two left-arm spinners who won’t be able to play together in the same match, but Jadeja and Chahal could play in the same match together. And if we have to face a lot of left-handers, then we need someone who can spin the ball outside as well. So, in my opinion, Yuzvendra Chahal and Arshdeep should have been in the team, and this is what will cause a lot of debate among everybody,” he said.

“But I believe batting is something that needs to come good because we have seen the batting since the past few weeks. It has been up and down. So, a lot will depend on Rohit and Virat Kohli, and how well they bat. Shreyas Iyer has just come back after injury, Ishan Kishan looks good, and KL Rahul, we don’t know whether he will play or not after coming back from his injury,” Harbhajan said.

“Hardik Pandya’s performance will be as important as Rohit’s and Virat Kohli’s. If you look at this side from the top, it looks very strong, but the middle order hugely depends on Hardik and others’ form. So, I believe that they will all have to come together to play some amazing kind of cricket to lift the Cup; otherwise, it will be very challenging,” he added.


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