During the just-concluded ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, India unearthed another quality spinner in Ravi Bishnoi. The 19-year-old leggie finished the showpiece tournament as highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps, including a superb spell (4/30) riddle with googlies in the final against Bangladesh.
Amid the accolades, veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh said Bishnoi still has to go through a long and hard route before getting a look-in at the international level.
“It’s nice to see what he did during the Under-19 World Cup. Obviously, it would have been better to see the boys bring back the Cup. Talking about leg-spinners, it is great to have a good pool of leggies. Yuzvendra Chahal is there and now we have Bishnoi and Rahul Chahar as well. Also, let’s not forget Amit Mishra who is not considered anymore, but I feel he has still got a lot of cricket left and is the most mature leg-spinner at the moment and can still serve the nation,” he said in an exclusive interview with TOI.
While cricket pundits are drawing parallels between Bishnoi and Rashid Khan and even feel that he will soon replace Chahal in India’s white-ball team, Harbhajan wants to reserve his judgement for the youngster.
“Don’t compare Bishnoi with anyone. I would like to see him grow as time goes by. He has done well and now he needs to think how to take a step further that includes how he will perfrom in the IPL and at the Ranji Trophy level. If he performs consistently there, he will surely be considered. But I would like to see him bowl more leg-spin rather than the googlies. There are not many spinners apart from (Amit) Mishra who have got a good combination of both googlies and leg spin. Bishnoi should become a legspinner who will fox a batsman with his googlies. You shouldn’t be just another bowler who is bowling googlies because your leg-spin is not good enough.”
The likes of Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bishnoi and Rahul Chahar will show their skills in IPL 2020 before the T20 World Cup, slated to be held in Australia later this year. But Harbhajan feels Chahal should travel down under for the marquee event.
“IPL performance will have a great impact on the selectors. These players will have to be at their best to show they deserve to be in the national team. Whether it is Chahal, Bishnoi or Rahul, it will in the end come down to who handles the pressure better. Chahal is a proven player and the new lot is actually competing with someone who has done it at that level already. They will have to do double the work than what Yuzi will have to do. Chahal has a strong case to be in the World Cup squad. I feel he is the No. 1 choice,” he concluded.
(With TOI inputs)