BSP-23 Harbhajan tells India to stick with Yadav-Chahal spin twins at World Cup

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CRICKET-WC-2019-IND-SPIN-HARBHAJAN,INTERVIEW

Harbhajan tells India to stick with Yadav-Chahal spin twins at World Cup

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, June 19, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Harbhajan Singh has
hailed wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for their key role
in India’s recent one-day successes, saying the pair should be fixtures for
the rest of the World Cup.

Wrist spinners generally get more turn than finger spinners, with left-
armer Yadav striking twice in India’s 89-run hammering of arch-rivals
Pakistan in Manchester on Sunday to prove his worth on English pitches that
often favour the quicks at this stage of the season.

Chahal’s leg-spinners did the damage in India’s first World Cup outing
against South Africa, with the bowler returning figures of 4-51.

Calls were made to replace Yadav with paceman Mohammed Shami against
Pakistan but former India off-spinner Harbhajan said the team should stick
with the spin twins.

“It is a very good combination,” Harbhajan told AFP. “The results that
India have got in the last two-and-a-half years, a lot of credit should be
given to these guys.

“I would like to see them playing together, because none of the other
teams have got two spinners and they don’t have the habit of playing spin in
the middle overs.

“It has worked for India to play two spinners, even in English conditions,
because they are wrist spinners. If India are thinking about their best XI
then these two will feature in all the games.”

The two bowlers have 168 one-day international wickets between them in the
three years since Chahal made his international debut in 2016. Yadav played
his first ODI the following year.

The 24-year-old Yadav is 10 away from a century of wickets with an
impressive economy rate of 4.92 in 47 ODIs.

“He has definitely got the capabilities and the talent to be there for a
long period of time,” said the 38-year-old Harbhajan, who last played for
India in a 2016 Twenty20 match.

“(India coach) Ravi Shastri said he is our number one bowler. So it’s good
that the team is backing him,” said Harbhajan, one of India’s finest off-
spinners, who took 417 wickets in 103 Tests and 269 wickets in 236 ODIs.

India, second in the ODI rankings, have been hit by injuries to opening
batsman Shikhar Dhawan — out of the rest of the World Cup — and paceman
Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

– India strength –

But Harbhajan said Virat Kohli’s side have strength in depth with Shami,
who is yet to play at the World Cup, likely to replace Kumar in the next
match against Afghanistan on Saturday.

“I think Shami is capable enough to win games on his own. He is one of
those guys who has been a matchwinner on his own,” said Harbhajan.

Harbhajan credited Kohli for a fitness revolution that has improved all
aspects of India’s game, particularly their fielding.

“They are fit, agile, a proper fielding squad. All the credit must be
given to Kohli for changing the face of Indian cricket in terms of fitness,”
said Harbhajan, a member of the 2011 World Cup-winning team.

“So if you have better fitness then your results always follow the way you
want them to be.”

Harbhajan said England, holders Australia, New Zealand and India — the
current top four — would qualify for the semi-finals, with Kohli’s side the
team to beat in the knockout phase.

“To beat India they (other teams) will have to bring their ‘A’ game on
that day. India will be a very tough side to beat,” he said with a smile.

BSS/AFP/BZC/2035HRS