“It is time to take tough calls” – Harbhajan Singh asks India to drop two players after loss to South Africa

Harbhajan Singh feels India should play Yuzvendra Chahal in place of Ravi Ashwin

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh (Image Credits: Twitter)

India made their way to the semifinals of the T20 World Cup 2022 a bit tricky after losing their previous game to South Africa by five wickets at the Perth Stadium on Sunday. The South African pacer Lungi Ngidi bounced out the star-studded Indian batting unit before Suryakumar Yadav bailed them out with a classy knock of 68 runs off 40 deliveries.

However, despite all the efforts from the Indian bowling unit, the score of 133/9 wasn’t enough as Aiden Markram and David Miller helped the Proteas to chase down the total. With the win, the Proteas have leapfrogged India to the top place, while Men in Blue are now 2nd in Group 2 points table with two wins and one loss after three matches.

India’s fate is still in their hands as they can qualify for the semifinals by winning their next two matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, respectively. While the oppositions are not that strong, this World Cup has been full of surprises. The Men in Blue cannot afford any slip-ups now.

Meanwhile, former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has suggested Team India two tough calls going forward. While the legendary offie feels this is not the time to panic, he has asked the team management to try Rishabh Pant as an opener in place of KL Rahul.

Time to bring in Rishabh Pant in place of KL Rahul: Rishabh Pant

“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,” said the former off-spinner on Sports Tak.

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The veteran wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik walked off the field in the previous game against South Africa and he is unlikely to play the next game against Bangladesh. Harbhajan said that while Rishabh Pant can take care of the gloves duty, India could play Deepak Hooda in the lower order as he could also bowl a couple of overs.

“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,” said Harbhajan Singh.

The former cricketer-turned-commentator also feels India should bring Yuzvendra Chahal in place of Ravichandran Ashwin. India have preferred the off-spinner so far in the competition and Chahal is yet to play a game.

“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,” further added Bhajji.

“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,” concluded Harbhajan Singh.

Also Read: ICC T20 World Cup 2022: Dinesh Karthik doubtful for Bangladesh game after suffering back injury against South Africa