Ahmedabad, Feb 12 (PTI) India’s middle-order issues in ODIs have been spoken about extensively for a long time but new captain Rohit Sharma was happy with the kind of effort put in by the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav in their 3-0 series win against the West Indies.
Surya was in fine nick in the first two games while Shreyas and Rishabh Pant came good in the final encounter in a relatively low scoring series on a difficult track where bowlers ruled the roost.
“What we were worried about was how we were challenged in the middle overs, but our middle order batting in this series was very good,” Rohit said after the end of the series.
“We batted according to the conditions and we had spoken about it for a long time that middle order does not get too many opportunities because the top three bat, but in this series, middle order batted well and as per the situation, which was a positive,” said Rohit.
While Rohit along with other two seniors Shikhar Dhawan and former skipper Virat Kohli have scored bulk of the runs during last 10 years, the middle-order has often caved in under pressure when it mattered.
“See I think, in ODI cricket, the four, five and six are very important numbers, some of the greats of India cricket have batted at that number, so it is a very crucial number.
“For us, it is important, whoever that four, five and six are, they get enough game-time and if we have a bowling option in those guys, nothing like it.”
For Rohit, it was paramount that every one got game time.
“But honestly for me, it is important for them to have as much game time as possible. We have got a lot of candidates for that number, but it is a good headache to have and good competition within themselves to come out and play and perform,” the Mumbaikar added.
“It was important for them (middle order) to put up a performance like that, everyone in the middle-order whenever they got an opportunity to bat, they performed and got the runs and they batted in difficult situations as well, like the last two games, we were 40/3 odd and from there we had to build the innings, so both games, we managed to do that, so it is a good sign moving forward,” he explained.
These were challenging pitches
The skipper had no hesitation in admitting that the tracks on offer at the Narendra Modi Stadium were challenging for batters.
“These were challenging pitches, today was the highest score of the series, getting to 250 was a very difficult task, there was a lot of help in the pitch for seamers, spinners as well. So all in all, all three games we played had different challenges,” the skipper said.
“Virat needs confidence? What are you saying man!”
Virat Kohli’s lack of hundreds might be a worry for general fans but the new captain just decided to nip in the bud, any concerns whatsoever expressed about his predecessor’s form and lack of confidence.
“Virat Kohli ko confidence ki zaroorat hai? Kya baat kar rahe ho yaar,” (Virat Kohli needs confidence? What are you saying man!?” Rohit just laughed it off.
“It is a different matter that he did not get a hundred, but in the series against South Africa, he scored two half centuries in three games. I don’t think there is anything wrong. The team management is not at all worried about that,” he added.
Prasidh was great but won’t talk about Test match prospects
Prasidh Krishna’s ability to generate pace and bounce has impressed the skipper greatly but he doesn’t wat to jump the gun if the Karnataka man is ready for rigours of Test cricket.
“Look, honestly I cannot tell you about Test cricket. But, certainly he (Prasidh) has impressed everyone with his bowling in this particular series,” Rohit said.
But Prasidh with his hard lengths and dosconcerting bounce got nine wickets especially bowling well in the middle overs.
“We were looking for someone like him to come out and bowl those overs in the middle and get us those breakthroughs, and we saw that clearly, the way he bowled in the last two games, with a lot of pace. We could see that he was getting something out of the pitch as well,” he said.
“From the team’s perspective, it is a good sign that he was able to come out and do that. He is definitely a prospect for the future, no doubt about that, but honestly I cannot tell you about test cricket, that is not in my hands,” he added.
Kuldeep bowled brilliantly
Kuldeep Yadav had lost his confidence completely under te last team management and on his international comeback looked decent although got some stick towards the end.
The new ODI captain was however very happy to see his variations in place.The skipper also praised Washington Sundar.
“He (Kuldeep) bowled brilliantly, he was bowling those googlies.”
“And not to forget Washy (Washington Sundar), he did the job in the first game, he was off today and game before, but that can happen. He is the guy for the future, bats pretty well. All-rounders are like gold in India at the moment, so we have to handle him (Washington) carefully,” the skipper explained.
“The biggest positive was obviously our bowling unit. The bowling unit, if I have to differentiate, the fast bowlers and the spinners, they did a great job in this particular series,” Rohit added.
He praised each and every member of the bowling unit.
“Along with Prasidh (Krishna), (Mohammed) Siraj was outstanding the way he bowled, with a lot of pace again, with the new ball and in the middle.
“Shardul (Thakur) played a couple of games, he bowled well in the middle and got one opportunity with the new ball and Deepak (Chahar), I was very impressed with his skills as well, like the way he swings the ball. Also Yuzvendra Chahal,” he signed off