Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has said that the national team needs someone better suited like Ashish Nehra to coach the side and prepare it for the 2024 T20 World Cup which will be played in the USA and the West Indies.
He feels that Ashish Nehra, who retired from the game in 2017, knows how modern T20 cricket works and can help current coach Rahul Dravid prepare the Indian team better. Notably, Ashish Nehra helped the Gujarat Titans, led by Hardik Pandya, to the IPL 2022 title.
“In the T20 format you can have someone like Ashish Nehra who recently retired from the game. He knows this better than, with all due respect to Rahul, we 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,” Harbhajan told PTI.
Harbhajan Singh also cited the split coaching roles that are being adopted by teams like England and Australia and said that the inclusion of Ashish Nehra in the coaching staff will help Rahul Dravid take breaks as well.
The 42-year-old feels the Indian team’s approach has to change whether the current top three — Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul, and Virat Kohli — extend their careers till the 2024 World Cup or not.
“The approach has to change in the T20 format. The first six overs are important. If that doesn’t happen you will be dependent on Hardik or Surya for scoring 50 off 20. If they don’t fire, you will end up with a below-par total. England changed their approach and they have won two World Cups. T20 has to be played like T20 not like ODIs,” said Harbhajan.
“All the top-three (Rohit, Virat, KL) need to do is increase their strike rate. It is tough when you bat at 110 or 120 strike and try to make 180. They have to score at least 9 runs per over in the first 10-12 overs,” he added.
He refrained to opining on whether Kohli and Rohit should continue playing in T20Is.
Harbhajan said: “I am no one to comment whether they would want to play 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.”
He also backed the choice of Hardik Pandya captaining the Indian T20I team after Rohit Sharma.