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Nehra is “more qualified” to lead India’s T20I team, according to Harbhajan

Nov 24, 2022

“I am not saying you remove Rahul from T20; Ashish and Rahul can work together to build this team for the 2024 World Cup”

It has been considered to use distinct India squads for the various forms. For T20 Internationals, Harbhajan Singh believes that India should hire a fresh coach, similar to what England did with Matthew Mott during their recent run to the T20 World Cup championship. In his opinion, Ashish Nehra is the right candidate for the position.

“He knows this [T20 cricket] better than” Rahul Dravid, the all-format India coach, Harbhajan feels.

“In the T20 format you can have someone like Ashish Nehra who recently retired from the game,” In Abu Dhabi, where he is a member of the Delhi Bulls lineup for the T10 league, Harbhajan spoke with PTI.

“We [Dravid and he] have played together for so many years; he has vast knowledge, but this is a tricky format. Someone who has played the game more recently is better suited for the coaching job in T20s. I am not saying you remove Rahul from T20; Ashish and Rahul can work together to build this team for the 2024 World Cup.”

While Nehra retired in November 2017, Dravid played his final T20 international match in October 2013. He has now started teaching, and earlier this year, when Gujarat Titans won the IPL in their inaugural season, he was in command of the backroom staff.

“With such an arrangement [split coaching], it is easy for Rahul as well, who can take a break as well like he did for New Zealand tour and Ashish can do the job in his absence,” said Harbhajan. Dravid’s replacement in the current New Zealand trip, where India won the T20I series, is VVS Laxman.

The approach has to change in the T20 format

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, the opening batsmen, scored 116 and 128 runs, respectively, at the recent T20 World Cup, where India was eliminated in the semi-finals following a ten-wicket loss to England. Their respective strike rates were 106.42 and 120.75. At No. 3, Virat Kohli was far more impressive, leading the tournament’s scoring list with 296 runs at a strike rate of 136.40. There have been suggestions that India has to take a close look at their top three players because he, too, occasionally failed to pick up the pace.

In the T20 format, the strategy must change, according to Harbhajan. If the first six overs don’t go well, you’ll be depending on Hardik (Pandya) or Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) to score 50 off 20, and if they don’t deliver, you’ll wind up with a low total.

“England changed their approach and they have won two World Cups [including the 2019 ODI World Cup]. T20 has to be played like T20 not like ODIs.”

Harbhajan remarked, specifically referring to the trio of Rohit, Rahul, and Kohli, “All the top three need to do is increase their strike rate. It is challenging when you bat at 110 or 120 strike and try to achieve 180. They have to score at least nine runs per over in the first 10 to 12 overs. I am no one to comment whether they would want to play [T20Is] or not. They are quality players. If they can remain fit, why not, provided the approach is different. Players can’t be changed overnight, the approach has to change.”

Meanwhile, it is planned that the eighth iteration of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup will take place in 2023. It will take place in South Africa from February 10 to February 26, 2023.

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