Harbhajan Singh said India team are over-dependent on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and they have to overcome that if they want to win World Cup.
Indian cricket has more often than not relied on star players like Sachin Tendulkar to get them through in big matches, and their failure sees televisions to be shut down as fans bury hopes of an India win.
Harbhajan Singh: India Have To Stop Relying On 2 Or 3 Players
In the previous decade, one can look at the time when the moment Sachin Tendulkar got out, and it was assumed that the rest of the team would fold up without much of a fight.
But first under Sourav Ganguly and later under MS Dhoni, India became a force to reckon with in international cricket. Sachin Tendulkar is the leading ODI run-scorer with 18426 runs while Virat Kohli is second with 11867 runs. The duo has 100 and 70 international centuries respectively.
Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh feels that the current Indian team needs to get over their reliance on skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and create more watch-winners like KL Rahul.
“They have to stop relying on 2 or 3 players. Last World Cup we saw Rohit Sharma was the key player and Virat is always there. But you have to have more match winners in your team. India needs to create more match-winners around Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to win the World Cup.
“These two might get out early in pressure matches and then you have to have other players who can fill that slot and have that belief in them to still do the job for Team India,” Harbhajan Singh said.
“KL Rahul is doing a fantastic job and is going to be a key player for India going forward. We need more players like KL Rahul around Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma whom we can believe that yes these are the guys. Anybody can get out early but we need to have that belief in our team that anybody can win the game for them,” he added.
KL Rahul who debuted in 2014 featured in 36 tests, 32 ODIs and 42 T20Is where he averages 45 in limited-overs format but he was dropped for poor form in tests, but recently made a comeback.
Harbhajan Singh: In 2011 World Cup, India Had Multiple Match Winners
According to the off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, the biggest strength of the Indian team that went on to win the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011 was the inclusion of several match-winners in the team. Although there were star players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni, each player in that team believed in themselves that they could win the match for India on a given day.
“That was the case with our team in the 2011 World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag got out early in the final but we had that belief, sitting in the dressing room, that Gautam Gambhir will do the job, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will do the job or Yuvraj Singh will definitely do the job. And if they don’t do it, I’ll do the job. That belief has to come from within a player,” Singh added.
2011 World Cup saw Sachin Tendulkar being 2nd in leading run-scorer list again with 482 runs in 9 games while Gautam Gambhir scored 393 runs whereas Virender Sehwag scored 380 and Yuvraj Singh scored 362.
Among bowlers, Zaheer Khan was leading wicket-taker with 21 wickets whereas all-rounder Yuvraj Singh picked up 15 wickets. Yuvraj Singh was Man of the Tournament while India won after a hiatus of 28 years. Harbhajan Singh picked up 9 wickets from as many games.