Harbhajan Singh’s Take on Rohit Sharma-Hardik Pandya Equation in Mumbai Indians’ New Setup | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: ‘Incredible leader’ – that’s how former India spinner Harbhajan Singh hailed captain Rohit Sharma who led a young Indian team to a 4-1 Test series victory over England in the recently concluded five-match Test series.

In the absence of stalwarts Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami, Rohit led his young battalion to achieve a remarkable series victory.

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Harbhajan not only hailed Rohit as captain but the off-spin legend also praised Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel and Yashasvi Jaiswal who were phenomenal in the series.

TimesofIndia.com met Harbhajan, who has played 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 T20Is, and spoke about Rohit’s leadership, Virat in the T20 World Cup, Yuzvendra Chahal’s absence and much more…

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On Rohit Sharma the captain…
Rohit Sharma is a human being that the entire locker room adores. The foundations of this young Team India were laid by Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli was not part of the series (England). In the absence of a stalwart like him, the youngsters’ performance is simply incredible and commendable. This shows that our young people do not lack talent. All they need is a platform. If you look at the series, India were 1-0 down and then made a remarkable turnaround to win the remaining matches and the series, and that too without senior players Virat, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul.


Young people came forward and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. We must also thank Rohit for the way he managed and guided these youngsters and showed them his confidence and faith. It was simply incredible. He is an extraordinary leader. Whether it was Yashasvi, Sarfaraz, Shubman (Gill) or Jurel, they all needed a platform and a captain who could take them forward. They needed a hand on their shoulders and Rohit played that big role very, very well. He was the captain and big brother of these young people in the series. He gave them a message – ‘I’m with you, you do whatever comes to you’ (I’m with you, do what you know).

Will Rohit Sharma be under pressure in the T20 World Cup?
Whenever the World Cup comes, we all expect our team to win matches and trophies as well. There is a lot of talent in this team, no one can point to a single problem in any department, be it bowling, fielding or batting. This team has it all. The only thing this team needs to change is the mindset (when it comes to winning an ICC tournament). We must learn from the past, move forward and ensure we do not repeat these mistakes. A good team is one that does not repeat mistakes. I hope this team secures its entry into the final and also wins the title. Virat and Rohit are going to play a huge role for India in the World Cup. Experience always counts.

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Is this the end of the road for Yuzvendra Chahal?
Why do we say or think that this is the end of the road for Chahal? In fact, till now I have not seen a better leg-spinner or a leg-spinner with a bigger heart than him. I’m talking about the whole world, not just India. It’s a problem that doesn’t know how to solve it. (why he’s not on the team remains a mystery). It would be great if Kuldeep and Chahal played together. Both are experienced players. The couple has done wonders for India. Kuldeep was very good. He took wickets in every match. He has the confidence he needs. Now he feels he is where he wanted to be.

How well will Rohit Sharma perform under Hardik Pandya during Mumbai Indians?
Only time will tell. Who will be comfortable and who will not? Mumbai Indians have put together a strong and formidable team in the IPL. I’m sure they would like to leave the controversies behind and pave the way for the future.

On BCCI’s test push…
There is nothing bigger than Test cricket. I am really happy with the steps taken to improve Test cricket or red ball cricket in our country. These measures should have been taken years ago. Whenever star players are going to play in Ranji Trophy, people come in large numbers to watch the match. National tournaments also need big stars. Apart from the fans, young players will also be able to interact with these star players in the dressing room and learn from them.

What do you think about Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer being removed from BCCI’s annual contract list?
As a player, it is difficult to digest that the action was taken against them despite doing a lot of running or playing cricket for India. But if we look at this constructively, it will help us greatly. It’s a learning curve for a lot of cricketers. Ishan and Iyer have a long way to go. They have a great career ahead of them. Both are talented cricketers. I am confident that Iyer and Ishan will come back to the Indian team soon, make runs and win many hearts. They should just take this as a lesson. They must learn and move forward. BCCI is here for all stakeholders. They do everything for the players.

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