Harbhajan crafted his preferred playing XI for the crucial match, emphasising the need for a formidable batting performance to improve India’s historically challenging record on South African soil.With only four victories and 12 defeats in 23 Tests since 1992, Harbhajan suggested the importance of posting a competitive score of over 400 and thus opted for a star-studded batting lineup.
“According to me Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal will open. Shubman Gill would come in at number three and the fourth spot will be for Virat Kohli. The fifth and sixth spots belong to Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul respectively. For number seven Ravindra Jadeja but the biggest question comes at number 8 with Ashwin and Shardul available. I feel Ashwin should play at number 8 because you have Jasprit Bumrah for number 9, Siraj for 10 and Prasidh Krishna for 1,” Harbhajan said on his YouTube channel.
Harbhajan expressed support for the spinner to secure the number eight position, despite acknowledging that he personally does not foresee such a scenario.
“But here I feel the conditions will be hot, the pitch will be hard, the bounce will be there and you have three pacers so I think India should go with two spinners. I feel South Africa would love to place pace so I think you should play on your strengths. I feel Ashwin should play but I don’t see that happening,” Harbhajan added.
He backed the decision to pick Ashwin by comparing the situation that India faced during the World Test Championship final earlier this year.
At that time India picked Shardul ahead of Ashwin, a decision which led to a lot of criticism. The veteran spinner backed India’s decision to pick Shardul at that time because the conditions favoured the team.
“The biggest debate is whether Shardul should play or Ashwin, this topic became a heated discussion during the World Test Championship. The conditions there were different because the ball seams on Day 1 so I feel Shardul was the right choice according to those conditions. There was a lot of grass on the wicket, even though he couldn’t make an impact I feel the decision was right,” Harbhajan said.
(With ANI Inputs)