Players need to be careful during IPL: Harbhajan Singh

Mumbai: Top Indian players like skipper Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah need to be careful not to get injured or pick up niggles during the IPL that precedes the ICC World Cup this year, feels Harbhajan Singh.

Saying the mega event, commencing on May 30 in England, is still some way off, the former India off spinner said Kohli’s men will go into it with their confidence high by winning the ongoing ODI series against Australia and becoming the top ranked team in the world. “World Cup is still very far. We will have to wait and watch what happens. But this is a kind of a team which can lift any major championship.

World Cup or any big tournament, – they can definitely win. They have the team (for it)”, Harbhajan said on Sunday. “But they have to be careful. IPL is a tournament in between where they will be playing a lot of cricket, one game after the other. That’s where fitness will come into play.

“You don’t want your key players to get injured someone like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah you dont want them to miss the World Cup because of injuries or niggles. You want them to be on their best of form and (play) best of cricket,” said the veteran who has 417 Test wickets and 269 ODI wickets to his name, and was part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad.

“Obviously, this current series (against Australia) will help them (India) to get that confidence (before the World Cup). If they become the number one side in the world, going forward in the World Cup, you go there as a number one which will boost their confidence,” he said.

Praising the phenomenal batting exploits of Kohli, who cracked his 41s ODI hundred against Australia at Ranchi in the third game of the series, skyhigh Harbhajan said the Indian skipper has hit a “purple patch”, and is one of the toughest batsmen to bowl to as he doesn’t show any weakness. Looking at his (Virat’s) form, from the last four-to-five years, he has hit that purple patch and he is definitely one of those toughest batsmen that you will come across as a bowler,” he said.

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