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T20 World Cup 2021

‘If coaches give such excuses, it’s really wrong’ – Harbhajan Singh criticises India bowling coach for toss comments

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Harbhajan Singh has criticised India bowling coach Bharat Arun for suggesting that the toss has played too big a role at the T20 World Cup.

India lost the toss and batted first in both games they lost, against Pakistan and New Zealand, with those results enough to see them eliminated from the tournament. Teams batting first have won 16 games and lost 26 at the T20 World Cup so far.

Arun, whose tenure ends with the conclusion of India’s campaign, stressed that he was not making excuses for India’s early exit, but felt that the toss had played too key a part in deciding some contests.

“I’m not trying to give any excuses but the trend this World Cup has been the team that wins the toss has a big advantage, especially when you’re playing in the Dubai Stadium,” he said. “So the wicket kind of eases out when you come out to bowl the second time. But no excuses, we should have batted better, and also the first match, we had a chance to defend our total but we looked a little below par.

“I’m not trying to give any excuses. But I think the toss plays a very very vital role, which I think shouldn’t – the toss shouldn’t be of any consequence. But here, the toss gives very undue advantage and there’s a huge change between batting in the first innings and batting in the second innings. That shouldn’t be the case in a very short format like this.”

Harbhajan, who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad for the 2021 IPL, with the latter stages held in the UAE, criticised Arun, saying that India should “accept the fact that we didn’t play well”.

“I heard Bharat Arun saying that had India won the toss, they could have done this and done that,” he told Sports Tak. “All that is up for a later discussion. If you had thought that you wanted to bowl first or bat first, well… didn’t Chennai Super Kings win the IPL after batting first? They did score 190, so you have to make runs. Let us accept the fact that we didn’t play well as we should have and we did not live up to expectations.

“It’s easy. There is no if and but involved, things like ‘if we had won the toss, we would have won the match as well’. It doesn’t work that way. There are teams who did not win the toss but ended up winning the match. Such things are said by teams who aren’t as developed. But India are a strong unit, a champion unit.

“If coaches give such excuses, it’s really wrong. Let us admit we did not play well, which can happen. Not a problem, but going forward, it should be a learning that we should not give out such statements and try to play better.”

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