India lacking self-belief in Australia, should play with better body language: Harbhajan Singh

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said he feels India’s body language is not up to the mark and that Virat Kohli’s men don’t seem to be enjoying the game in the ongoing ODI series against Australia. India have conceded a 2-0 unbeatable lead in the 3-match ODI series and staring a clean sweep.

Harbhajan Singh, speaking to India Today, said every individual needs to take up responsibility and bowlers should not get bogged down if they are taken on in the first few overs. Harbhajan said India need better planning against in-form Australian batsmen who have made merry in the first 2 ODis.

India conceded 374 runs in the 1st ODI and 389 — a record for Australia against the Asian giants in ODI cricket — in the 2nd ODI in Sydney. None of the Indian bowlers looked sharp as they let David Warner and Aaron Finch posted mammoth first-wicket stands in both the ODIs. Steve Smith hit two identical 62-ball hundreds in the two ODIs as India’s bowlers were taken to the cleaners.

Established names, including Jaspirt Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, have struggled while young Navdeep Saini has been taken to the cleaners.

India are in danger of getting blanked in the ODI series as Australia have never lost an international match in Canberra, which will host the 3rd ODI on Wednesday. Harbhajan believes India need to pull up their socks sooner than later, considering the T20I series and the much-anticipated Test series that are coming up after the ODI series.

“I feel the body language is something… you need to start taking responsibility as an individual. You need to start thinking in the right terms to do good for India. As a bowler, if I was there on the park, I could have gone for 5 overs, 50-odd runs, I would always think about the next 5 overs and what I need to do to do better,” Harbhajan Singh said.

“Body language should start from the captain as well. You need to keep believing in yourself as a player. That’s something India are lacking at the moment. They must talk about this and come up with better plans and with better body language.

“It doesn’t matter, you lose the game, you lose the game. But you make sure you give your best and enjoy the game. At the moment, what I see on the TV, Team India is not enjoying the game, they are going through the motions and letting the game go away from them.”

T Natarjan and spin twins for Canberra, says Harbhajan

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh urged India to test the bench strength in the 3rd ODI, which will be a dead rubber. The veteran off-spinner pointed out that India can try out their two wrist-spinners in tandem and can give T Natarajan a debut, considering his ability to execute yorkers and variations.

“Well, this is an opportunity for India to test other people. T Natarajan is there, a left-arm seamer who could be a very good option in Australia in those big grounds.

“Of course, we have seen Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal, whenever they have played together, they have done really well. It doesn’t matter against what team, on what sort of conditions. That could be another option, playing two wrist spinners together, which can produce wickets. In that case, you have to make Ravindra Jadeja sit out. Or play KL Rahul at the top in place of Mayank Agarwal and use Ravindra Jadeja as the 6th bowler.”

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