T20 World Cup 2021: Harbhajan suggests a big change for India; names a new opening partner for Rohit

Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan | GETTY

India needs to be at their best against New Zealand after facing a 10-wicket defeat by Pakistan in their first T20 World Cup 2021 match. The winner between India and New Zealand will get a huge boost to their chances for the semi-final.

India’s veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has suggested Team India a few changes in the team and batting order for their next match on October 31 in Dubai. He feels Ishan Kishan, who didn’t play against Pakistan, should open with Rohit Sharma. He replaced Suryakumar Yadav in the playing XI with Kishan for the clash against the Kiwis.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Harbhajan shared his playing XI for Team India in the upcoming encounter. “I feel Ishan Kishan needs to play and it’s important for the Indian team. If he opens with Rohit Sharma, then India would get the start it needs. If Kishan plays six overs, the score won’t be 40-50. It will be 60-70. Ishan Kishan is a swashbuckling batsman. Whenever he is there, any bowler is under pressure”, he said

“If Ishan Kishan opens with Rohit Sharma and then Virat Kohli, KL Rahul play, then our first four batsmen are strong. Rishabh Pant should remain at number 5”, he added.

Apart from Suryakumar, Harbhajan also left out Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the playing XI and included Shardul Thakur in his place. He is backing Hardik Pandya to play the finisher’s role with a batting position at number 6.

“Hardik Pandya should be there at the number 6 position. The day he remains at the crease and his shots connect; he can destroy any bowler. He should play even if he can’t bowl. He bats in a position where it’s the most difficult.

“In the T20 format, it’s easier to bat at no. 3 or while opening. But when you need to go at no. 5, you need to start hitting from the first ball itself which requires a lot of skill and game sense, which Hardik Pandya has. In world cricket at no. 6 or no. 7, Hardik is among the most dangerous batsmen. Obviously, there is Kieron Pollard and it doesn’t really matter to AB de Villiers which position he is batting at. But, Hardik Pandya is a must at no. 6”, he said.

“At 7, we need Ravindra Jadeja. At 8, we need Shardul Thakur. He is a good choice as he is in good form and can also bowl well. He also played well in the IPL final for Chennai Super Kings. He has good confidence. At no. 9, we need Jasprit Bumrah. At no. 10, Mohammed Shami. At no. 11, Varun Chakaravarthy”, he added.

Varun Chakaravarthy didn’t have a good game against Pakistan, but Harbhajan is backing him to do well against New Zealand. He feels the mystery spinner needs more time to come good in the tournament.

“Varun has played less matches, he needs more time. You all will soon say that he is a big match-winner. He is key to India if they want to do well and win the World Cup.”, he further said.