New Delhi: Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said that the side needs to look out for ‘wicket-taking’ spinners. In the three-match ODI series, which India have lost, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal have been out-bowled by South Africa’s troika of spinners, Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj and part-timer Aiden Markram.
“Whenever your spinners or other middle-overs bowlers won’t take wickets in the 15-40 overs, the match will slip out of your hands. I believe Team India needs to figure out which spinners will get them wickets. Even if they give 60 runs in eight overs or 70 in nine overs, doesn’t matter, but they should get three wickets. You won’t be successful without taking wickets in the middle-overs,” said Harbhajan in a video on his YouTube channel.
Just two wickets
While the South African spinners have taken eight wickets combined from both ODIs with an average of 33.37, the Indian spinners have picked just two wickets with an average of 111. Now with the last match of the series coming on Sunday at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, Harbhajan hopes India can sign off from the tour on a high.
“Now, winning the third match is very important for the Indian team because when you play a tournament and you know you have lost, winning the last match for a bit of inner peace feels good. I hope the Indian team brings some changes in the bowling department and bring in bowlers that try to take wickets and not stop runs.”
Harbhajan felt that all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer hasn’t been utilised well in terms of batting in both ODIs. Iyer, mainly an opener in the domestic circuit and for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, has batted at number six in both ODIs, making 2 and 22 respectively.
'Open the innings'
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether Venkatesh Iyer should play or not. I feel that if you want to play him, get him to open the innings because he’s an opener. Asking him to bat at No.5-6 is a difficult thing for him because if you are expecting him to bat how he did in the IPL then you are forgetting that he did that as an opener.”
The 41-year-old signed off by saying that batting at five and six is a different cup of tea, because of which India haven’t found able replacements for MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.
“There’s a different pressure at number five and six, that’s why MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh are such big players because they have won so many matches from those positions and perhaps India still hasn’t found their replacement.”