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Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh are two people missing in this WC team: Harbhajan Singh


Indian duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Arshdeep Singh should have been picked in the 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup, said former Indian offspinner Harbhajan Singh on Thursday.

Chahal and Arshdeep were overlooked from the Indian squad, which was announced by the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee on Tuesday.

“I think 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,” Harbhajan said during a virtual press conference organised by Star Sports.

“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.” Citing the example of Australia’s Mitchell Starc, he 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.”

Chahal would have been in the playing XI all the time

Backing Chahal’s inclusion, Harbhajan said: “Chahal is a proven match winner, someone who has taken more number of wickets than any other spinner, and if he was playing for any other country, I think he would have been in the playing XI all the time.

“Despite proving so much, I think he should be in the team. If I was part of the management, I would definitely keep him in the team. Because we are all stakeholders of Indian cricket. And we want Indian cricket to do well.

“These two guys could have been very handy in the World Cup, especially in conditions where they know what to do and how to take wickets. So, I believe these two guys, simply in India, have missed it.” Harbhajan said he was astonished to see no right-arm spinners in the squad.

“We have chosen two left-arm spinners, and both of them will never play in the same match. The day Ravindra Jadeja plays, Axar won’t.
“And it’s also possible that when there are a lot of left-handers in the opposition, Jadeja may not even bowl. That day, you need a bowler who can take the ball away of the left-arm batters.

“So, Chahal and Arshdeep should have been in the team, but in whose place could be a big debate.

“When you are picking three spinners, it should have been a combination of leftarm plus an offspinner or legspinner. But I’m astonished when you are neither picking a legspinner nor an offspinner, and taking two leftarmers.” “Suryakumar is a complete package”

Harbhajan sees Suryakumar Yadav as the X-factor in the Indian team for the upcoming World Cup and said he is the most impactful middle-order batter in India right now.

Despite not able to recreate his T20 magic in the ODI format, Suryakumar, who is the world’s No 1 T20I batter, managed to hold onto his spot in the 15-member squad for the World Cup that had led to a debate over the exclusion of Sanju Samson and rising allrounder Tilak Varma.

“Suryakumar is a complete package. In the number where he bats, I don’t think there is any other better player than him in India. What he can accomplish at No 5 or 6, even Virat (Kohli), Rohit (Sharma), or Sanju (Samson) cannot replicate,” he said.

An ace of 360-degree hitting, Suryakumar is going through a lean patch and has not scored a fifty in his last 18 innings.

“Many would say what he has done in ODIs? But the impact he has made in T20s is enough. If plays an impactful innings that would make the difference,” the 43-year-old said.

“When you bat from the 35th over, you need a game where you can find the gaps in the field, and nobody is better than Surya in doing that. He needs just 30 balls to change the game.

“Given a choice, I will make him play every time. You can’t waste such a talent like Surya.” Harbhajan said the onus would be on senior duo of Rohit and Virat to give the team a good start.

“A lot will depend on Rohit and Virat Kohli and how they bat because Shreyas has just come back from an injury. Ishan Kishan looked good. KL Rahul will play or not, we don’t know. Hardik Pandya will also play a key role like Rohit or Virat.

“So, I believe they will all have to come together, play some amazing kind of cricket to lift the Cup. Otherwise, it will be very challenging to be honest.” India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup in a Super 4 clash on Sunday and Harbhajan feels it would be a 50-50 contest.

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“Yes, when you play together for six-eight months before any big tournament makes a huge difference. You know your roles, the expectations, the tempo you need to maintain.

“All these things matter a lot going into the World Cup, it becomes easier. Earlier whenever there’s an India-Pakistan contest, 80 per cent chance would be for us. But nowadays it’s like 50-50, because of their settled squad (Pakistan).

“It will be a bit of disadvantage for India, but also it will be an opportunity for them to get them settled in whatever time they have. If the bonding comes, starts falling in place,” he said.





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