WTC Final: India become too tight in big games, need to play fearlessly to win titles, says Harbhajan Singh

Written by Sumit Seth

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh believes the current team lacks the fearlessness required to win ICC titles, and that fielding four pacers in the World Test Championship final was a bit ”too much”. After falling short in numerous ICC knockout games since winning their last trophy in 2013, India finds itself in a hole in the WTC final against Australia.

India were 151 for 5 at stumps on Day 2 in response to Australia’s first innings score of 469, trailing by 318 runs. While the Indian bowlers failed to effectively use the bouncer on day one, Shubman Gill (13) and Cheteshwar Pujara (14) committed the cardinal sin of misjudging the line and length on a pitch with variable bounce.

“There is nothing lacking (in terms of skills). The more you play the big games the better you get. I feel you need to play more freely in these big games. I think we have become a bit too tight. Will have to play more freely and not think about the results.

“The more you leave the players to do the job, they will do the job. If you put pressure on them that if you don’t perform well, some get dropped and some don’t (they will feel underconfident).

Harbhajan, who is in England as a commentator, noticed the players becoming ‘too tight’ in concerned high-pressure situations and advised them not to be about the outcome.

“The idea is to give them confidence that even if you don’t do well, give your best. That way we will probably lift a few cups. Just play fearlessly,” Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

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Sumit Seth