Former India skipper Krish Srikkanth has showered praise on Rohit Sharma, saying the opening batsman has shown incredible willpower in the ongoing World Cup.
With his 26th ODI hundred, which helped India post a 28-run win over Bangladesh here on Tuesday, Rohit equalled Kumar Sangakkara’s record of scoring most tons in a World Cup edition.
“You cannot ask for anything more from an opening batsman. Rohit knows when to attack and when to build an innings more conservatively.
“The determination and willpower is incredible. Opening in a World Cup is so important and he has taken on the responsibility when the team needed it,” Srikanth wrote in his column for ICC.
Srikanth said Rohit’s aggressive approach against Bangladesh from the very beginning gave the team early momentum.
“In this game he was aggressive from the start and his 104 really gave India the momentum early on. Contrast that with the hundred he scored against South Africa in the first game, two completely different innings, but equally as important.
“The way he has stepped up since Shikhar Dhawan’s injury is crucial for India,” he said.
Srikanth said he was impressed with the other opener K L Rahul as well.
“He’d got a couple of good starts, but he went on and made 77 against Bangladesh and I’m sure a hundred is just around the corner. He looks to be gaining in confidence and is becoming another important player at the top of the order.”
The former batsman said the great thing about the Indian team in this World Cup is the fact that it does not rely only on one player.
“This game, and much of the tournament has been about teamwork for India,” said Srikanth.
“Yes, Rohit scored a century and was deservedly player of the match, but everyone chipped in and played their part. India ended up winning by 28 runs, so the contributions of Rishabh Pant (48), MS Dhoni (35) and Virat Kohli (26) were important too.
“I think India are in a really good position, and the main reason for that is the burden on Rohit and Virat at the top of the order has been reduced. We have seen other players, like Rahul and Pant step up, and that will be important going forwards,” he further added.
Srikanth also applauded the efforts of the bowlers.
“The same applies to the bowlers, they all played their part, with Jasprit Bumrah finishing things off in style.
“It was interesting to see them go with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in place of Kuldeep Yadav, but that may have been down to how good Bangladesh are against spin.
“Bhuvi bowled very well, so he rewarded the decision to give him a go. The management have been clear that it was a horses for courses selection so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kuldeep back involved in the semi-final.”
The former captain also gave a big thumbs up to Bangladesh’s fighting spirit.
“They kept fighting until the end even though chasing 317 is a big ask, and showed a great deal of spirit against a good India side. Perhaps they are a little too reliant on Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, but it really feels like they have evolved as a team.
“India were pushed all the way, and that is where those little contributions from the whole team made the difference.”