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Harbhajan Singh’s take on Rohit Sharma-Hardik Pandya equation in new Mumbai Indians’ set-up | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: ‘Amazing leader’ – that’s how former India spinner Harbhajan Singh hailed captain Rohit Sharma who led a young Team India to a 4-1 Test series win against England in the recently-concluded five-match Test series.
In the absence of stalwarts Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami, Rohit shepherded his young batallion to bag a remarkable series win.
Harbhajan not only hailed Rohit the captain, but the off-spin legend also lauded Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel and Yashasvi Jaiswal who were phenomenal in the series.
TimesofIndia.com caught up with Harbhajan, who played 103 Tests, 236 ODIs, and 28 T20Is, and spoke about Rohit’s leadership, Virat in the T20 World Cup, Yuzvendra Chahal‘s absence, and much more…

On Rohit Sharma the captain…
Rohit Sharma is a human being the entire dressing room loves. The foundation of this young Team India has been laid by Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli wasn’t part of the (England) series. In the absence of a stalwart like him, the way youngsters have performed is just amazing and commendable. This shows there is no dearth of talent in our youngsters. All they need is a platform. If you look at the series, India were 1-0 down and then made a remarkable turnaround to win the remaining matches and the series, and that too without senior players Virat, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul.
Youngsters came forward and grabbed the opportunity from both hands. Credit to Rohit also — the way he handled and guided these youngsters, and showed trust and faith in them. It was just amazing. He is an amazing leader. Be it Yashasvi, Sarfaraz, Shubman (Gill), or Jurel, they all needed a platform and a captain who could push them forward. They needed a hand on their shoulders and Rohit played that big role very, very well. He was a captain and a big brother to these youngsters in the series. He conveyed a message to them – ‘mai aapke saath hun, aap wo kariye jo aapko aata hai’ (I am with you, do what you know).
Will Rohit Sharma be under pressure in the T20 World Cup?
Whenever the World Cup arrives, we all set expectations on our team that it should go on to win matches and trophies as well. There is a lot of talent in this team, no one can point out a single problem in any department — be it bowling, fielding or batting. This team has everything. The only thing this team has to change is mindset (when it comes to winning ICC tournament). We need to learn from the past, move forward and have to ensure that we don’t repeat those mistakes. A good team is one that doesn’t repeat mistakes. I hope this team will ensure it enters the final and wins the title too. Virat and Rohit are going to play huge roles for India in the World Cup. Experience always matters.

Is this the end of the road for Yuzvendra Chahal?
Why we are saying or thinking that it is the end of the road for Chahal? In fact, till now, I have not seen a better leg-spinner or a leg-spinner with a bigger heart than him. I am talking worldwide, not just in India. Ye gutthi hai jo sulajhne ka naam nahi le rhi (why he is not a part of the team is still a mystery). It would be great if Kuldeep and Chahal play together. Both are experienced players. The pair has done wonders for India. Kuldeep has been very good. He has been taking wickets in every match. He has got the confidence he needs. Now he feels he is where he wanted to be.
How comfortable Rohit Sharma will be playing under Hardik Pandya for Mumbai Indians?
Only time will tell. Who will be comfortable or who will not? Mumbai Indians have been a solid and formidable team in IPL. I am sure they would love to leave the controversies behind and pave the way for the future.
On BCCI’s Test incentive…
There is nothing bigger than Test cricket. I am really happy with the steps taken to improve Test cricket or red-ball cricket in our country. These steps should have been taken years ago. Whenever star players go to play Ranji Trophy, people come to watch the match in big numbers. Domestic tournaments also need big stars. Apart from fans, young players will also get to interact with these star players in the dressing room and learn from them.
Your take on Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer’s removal from the list of BCCI’s annual contracts?
As a player, it is hard to digest that the step has been taken against them despite making a lot of runs or playing so much cricket for India. But if we look, this in a constructive way, it will help in a big way. This is a learning for a lot of cricketers. Both Ishan and Iyer have to go a long way. They have a big career ahead of them. Both are talented cricketers. I am confident that both Iyer and Ishan will come back to the Indian team soon, will make runs and will win many hearts. They just need to treat this as a lesson. They need to learn and move on. BCCI is there for all the players. They are doing everything for the players.

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