Harbhajan Singh opens up on India’s ICC title drought

Team India have not won an ICC trophy for nearly a decade as the team’s last major title win was the 2013 Champions Trophy under MS Dhoni. India has been going through a challenging period since 2013, as despite reaching the semi-finals and finals of ICC tournaments, they have failed to clinch the silverware. With the ODI World Cup set to happen this year in India, the team has a great chance to break their title drought.

Meanwhile, veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh has said that the team shuffled players continously in the last few years and that weakens the team. He also said that the inclusion of inexperienced players cost India at major tournaments, adding that the pressure of the big matches is something not everyone can handle.

“It has become a bit of a pattern. In 2018-19 we saw that there was a lot of shuffling of players. Dinesh Karthik was playing, Rishabh Pant was also playing… How to win a big match, there is a little lack of experience. Big matches are high-pressure. World Cup pressure is different from bilateral series. Bigger the tournament, the higher the pressure is. Very few people actually take that kind of pressure,” he said while speaking to The Indian Express.

Harbhajan also criticised India for not winning a title despite all the talent in the team. The former spinner also mentioned India is no longer dependent on one or two players to win big games, which is why the expectations from them to perform at major tournaments are even higher now.

“We used to say that if Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli make runs, then India will win. But now there is Hardik Pandya. We have more players now (potential match-winners) and I hope this trend will change. With the kind of talent we have, I think we should be able to. If you are unable to win with the talent we have, then when will you win?” he asked.

When Virat Kohli took over the captaincy, India were stunned by arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. They crashed out in the first stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup and also lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup. India also 2022 T20 World Cup semi-final to England apart from losing the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in 2021.