Hardik has special power to hit sixes: Harbhajan Singh

The crushing loss to Pakistan in their opening T20 World Cup match has prompted several experts to suggest wholesale changes to India’s playing XI. However, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is against the idea of chopping and changing for Sunday’s match against New Zealand. 

“I am not in favour of many changes in the team. Is there any guarantee that India will do well after making too many changes? They have played just one match. India lost the match due to poor cricket whereas Pakistan played excellent cricket. They dominated right from the first ball,” Harbhajan, who was surprised by Pakistan’s attacking brand of cricket, told mid-day on Thursday. 

Harbhajan Singh

Though Hardik Pandya was seen bowling in the nets on Wednesday, him not bowling in the match is a talking point. Bhajji though feels that the flamboyant all-rounder can play as a batsman in the XI. “Why do people want Hardik dropped? Let him play as a batsman. He is blessed with special power of hitting sixes. He can hit a six off the very first delivery. He just failed in one match. Please encourage him,” Harbhajan said. 

The Turbanator also backed his fellow Kolkata Knight Riders teammate Varun Chakravarthy to retain his place in the XI after the leggie went wicketless for 33 in his four overs against Pakistan.  “I expect Varun to be in the XI. He is a top-class  bowler, a match-winner. What he needs is tight bowling from the other end. He will be an asset. The Pakistan openers did not take any chances against him in the first three overs [17 runs in three overs]. He gave some runs [16] in the fourth over. Koi baat nahi…we should allow him to bowl in his own way. Give him full freedom and he will get you wickets,” said Bhajji.

Harbhajan, however, advocated one change—Shardul Thakur to replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“I was surprised to see Bhuvneshwar lose a bit of pace. He could not swing either. Maybe, they can try Shardul. Let me remind you, that India have played just one match. India should not lose spirit. They should come back stronger,” said Harbhajan, who was part of India’s 2007 T20 World Cup win and the 2011 50-over World Cup triumph at Wankhede.

Hardik Pandya’s strike-rate in T20 Internationals

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