India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes the current team’s batting line-up is far too dependent on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, with the lower order unable to pull their weight when the top order gets out.
“The current team, what I see from the outside, is too dependent on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. And the team doesn’t have a lot of self-belief,” Harbhajan said in an Instagram live session with Rohit.
“There are very good players for sure, but there’s no belief that if Virat and Rohit get out… 70% of the matches get out of our hands when that happens, it’s very rare for someone to come in lower down the order and win the game for us.
“But our team had that belief, that Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) will score the runs, if he doesn’t, Rahul Dravid will do it, someone or other will do it, there was that trust on each other.
“I don’t know… in this team, in matches where you (Sharma) or Virat have not scored runs, or there hasn’t been a partnership upfront, say you and Shikhar, so if three wickets fall at the start, the match is out of our hands. That’s one thing I think this team can improve on.”
Harbhajan added that the batsmen must play with the same freedom they play with during the IPL, adding that they must not let pressure get to them.
“The way the boys play – I see them in the IPL, somehow they don’t play the same way in international cricket. I don’t know whether that’s because of the pressure to keep their spots, but if they want to be big players, they have to play their natural games, what I see them playing in the IPL.
“In the IPL, they look like totally different players. They are hitting the same bowlers. Trent Boult plays here, Tim Southee plays here, Dale Steyn plays here, the best in the game play here.
“But maybe that’s the pressure of international cricket, maybe they are scared that they will lose their spots. That’s why they can’t play their games. So if they get ten games to settle down, at least they have a better chance.”