Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)
Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)

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Harbhajan Singh believes South Africa will not pose too big a challenge for Team India in the third and final Test to be played in Cape Town.

The Indian team took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series by registering a convincing 113-run win in Centurion. However, the hosts bounced back to level the series with an equally comprehensive seven-wicket win at the Wanderers.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh Doesn’t Think South Africa Has The Ability To Beat India 2-1 At Cape Town Where The Conditions Will Suit India

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Harbhajan Singh opined that the Indian team should put it across the Proteas at the Newlands.

He reasoned: “I don’t think this South African team has the ability to beat India 2-1 there. I feel the conditions in Cape Town will also suit India, the spinners will also come into the game. I hope Team India will rock there.”

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

The former India spinner wants a bigger contribution from Rishabh Pant with the bat in the Cape Town Test.

Harbhajan Singh elaborated: “I would want runs to come from Rishabh Pant’s bat. It seemed he was in a hurry while batting. I feel he can contribute more if he gives himself a little more time. We all know that he is an attacking player but you need to first tire the bowler and then attack him.”

Rishabh Pant played a reckless shot even before he opened his account in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test. He danced down the track off the third delivery he faced from Kagiso Rabada and played an ugly hoick, only to get an edge to the wicket-keeper.

Rishabh Pant had a lean patch in Test cricket since his last hundred at Ahmedabad. In 4-match series in England, he scored just 146 runs in 7 innings while in this ongoing series he scored just 59 runs in 4 innings. Rishabh Pant had scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 in five innings for India against Australia in 2020/21 Down Under.

The keeper continued his form against England at home where he hit 270 runs at an average of 54.00 as he was the second-highest run-getter for India in the series. But since the end of the home Test series against England, Rishabh Pant has played seven Tests, all away from home, and has averaged a mere 19.23.

Harbhajan Singh: The 2nd Test Match Too Was Also In India’s Grasp

Reflecting on the second Test between the two sides, Harbhajan Singh lauded South Africa’s excellent run chase in the fourth innings. Harbhajan Singh feels Team India should have won the Johannesburg Test as well.

He said: “I was feeling the match was in India’s grasp, that they could win. But hats off to South Africa. They did not have an experienced batting lineup but the way they batted while chasing in the second innings is commendable.”

The “Turbanator” was particularly effusive in his praise for South African skipper Dean Elgar.

Harbhajan Singh explained: “Their opener Elgar played an excellent knock. It was necessary for him to play till the end. If he had gotten dismissed, the result would probably have gone in India’s favor.”

Dean Elgar punches the air after hitting the winning four AFP via Getty Images
Dean Elgar punches the air after hitting the winning four AFP via Getty Images

Dean Elgar played an unbeaten 96-run knock in South Africa’s second innings to take his team across the finish line. The gritty opener took numerous blows to his body but kept the Indian attack at bay during his more than five-hour vigil at the crease.

Dean Elgar, the South African skipper, claims that he is willing to put his body on the line for his country. Dean Elgar played a gritty knock of 96 runs to guide South Africa to a 7-wicket win over India to level the series 1-1. The series decided will now be played on January 11 in Cape Town.

Harbhajan Singh’s India debut was against New Zealand at Sharjah in 1998 and he played his last game for the country in March 2016 during a T20I against the UAE at Dhaka. The veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh pulled down curtains on his illustrious career as he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, a few days ago.

He represented India in 103 Tests, 236 ODIs, and 28 T20Is and was also a part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad. He retired with 417 Test wickets, 269 ODI scalps, and 25 wickets in T20Is. Harbhajan Singh played for Kolkata Knight Riders after a successful stint with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. He played 3 matches for KKR in 2021 but was seen as a mentor figure for young spinners in their run to the final in the UAE.