Former cricketer Steve Harmison has raised concerns about India’s batting lineup ahead of the upcoming five-match Test series against England, set to commence on January 25 in Hyderabad. The 45-year-old expressed skepticism about the potential of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill in red-ball cricket, emphasizing that the current crop of Indian batsmen lacks the intimidation factor seen in past legends.
With Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane not in contention, the Indian team, led by Rohit Sharma, boasts an inexperienced batting order. Although Jaiswal, Gill, and Shreyas Iyer have shown promise in the past, consistency remains a significant challenge.
Harmison pointed out that these players are well-established in white-ball cricket but face uncertainties in the Test format. He believes that India’s batting strength will heavily rely on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, as other players lack the class and intimidation factor exhibited by past stalwarts like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and VVS Laxman.
“India will fancy their chances in their own environment, especially with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in their batting line-up. England, though, will feel that there are some vulnerabilities in that batting line-up. When I toured India, you had those big batters in the likes of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, and Laxman – all stellar players. I am not sure if it’s as intimidating as it was back in the day,” remarked Steve Harmison in an interview with ETV Bharat.
While acknowledging the talent of players like Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal, Harmison expressed his reservations, stating that there are fewer established international players in the red-ball format compared to the white-ball setup.
Steve Harmison also highlighted England’s challenges, noting that players such as Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley are still finding their footing in international cricket. He stressed that the responsibility will fall heavily on Joe Root and Ben Stokes in the upcoming series, with their performance crucial to England’s success with the bat.
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“Ben Duckett is still finding his way, while Zak Crawley is still trying to find his way, though he’s an exciting talent. So, Ben Stokes and Joe Root will have to shoulder the burden and the majority of pressure if England are to perform with the bat. A lot of their success with the bat will be largely down to Joe Root having one of his better series because he’s the best player of spin in the current line-up,” concluded Steve Harmison, highlighting the key roles Root and Stokes will play in England’s batting lineup.