After a hectic 2017, which saw the Indian team play the likes of Australia, England, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Harbhajan Singh feels that the home series versus Sri Lanka could have been avoided. Singh also said that he preferred Bhuvaneshwar over Sharma as the former is more of a 'match-winner'.
The sight of a disgruntled captain in the form of Virat Kohli approaching the post-match media conference to address the press gathered is something that Indian fans will tend to remember for the entire duration of the South African tour. His aggressive attitude during the interview was a clear sign of frustration and disappointment after suffering a series loss in their very first outing of 2018.
Few could blame the captain for the disappointing show put up by the Men in Blue against the Proteas. 2017 was a packed year for the Indian team as they played the likes of England, Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka (twice home and away). With such a crowded schedule, fatigue and injuries were bound to take its toll on this young Indian squad.
Even before the Sri Lanka series, Kohli had voiced his concern about the lack of rest for the players and even had a meeting with the CoA regarding the same. Harbhajan Singh has also been critical of the BCCI’s decision to play the home series versus Sri Lanka in November and December, which was immediately followed by the tour of South Africa.
"Look I believe the last Sri Lanka series at home served little purpose. We hardly gained anything out of it. Rather a few players could have gone to South Africa early. If not Dharamsala could have been a great place for preparation," Harbhajan said, reported PTI.
"Its high altitude, cooler weather, seam movement along with bounce would have given them ideal preparation before a tough assignment like South Africa."
"Bhuvi is a bigger match-winner in today's date compared to Ishant Sharma. Whenever Bhuvi has performed, India have done well. I still believe all is not lost. We can bounce back and make it 2-1 in Johannesburg," Harbhajan added.
However, the Punjab-born cricketer, was a bit more analytical when it came to the decision to select Rohit Sharma over Test-deputy Ajinkya Rahane stating, "I was checking a few stats. Under Virat, Ajinkya's average is less than 40 over 30 Tests. Also last one year he didn't score that many runs."
"What if Ajinkya played and India were down 0-2, then would we have said that please bring Rohit. One needs to understand the captain's point of view also."