Rohit Sharma has not scored too many hundreds in the ongoing World Cup but batting coach Vikram Rathour feels that the Indian skipper has led the team from the front with his attacking approach at the top of the order.
Rohit, who has scored one century (131) and two fifties from eight matches, has been consistently giving India fluent starts. His 24-ball 40 against South Africa here on Sunday ensured that India were off to a flier. India scored 326 for 5 after opting to bat first and then dismissed South Africa for a mere 83 for a massive 243-run win.
”It’s absolutely Rohit’s idea. He’s taking the initiative,” Rathour said at the mixed zone. ”If there’s something on the wicket, he’s looking to go for his shots. It is working out really well for the team. He’s one guy who’s leading with his action.” Rohit and Shubman Gill took charge of the South African new-ball bowler duo of Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen and unsettled their rhythm.
Rohit may have failed to convert his start but he helped India reach 91 for 1 in the powerplay, which allowed Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer to take it easy in the middle overs before stepping up the run-rate.
”We’re looking to score as many runs as we can. The start that Rohit and Gill provided helped Virat and Shreyas to settle down and take their time. ”Maharaj looked like the bowler who could have got some wickets on this wicket. That start gave us the opportunity to play a little safely. That was a great strategy and it worked out well,” Rathour said.
The Indian batting coach also hailed Shreyas Iyer’s valuable 77 off 87 balls in a match-turning 134-run partnership with Rohit.
”He (Iyer) always plays like this, he has scored a lot of runs for the team for the last two years. One-two bad matches does not make a difference, we’re always sure how he can contribute to the team,” Rathour said of Iyer who now has three fifties from eight innings.
This was India’s eighth victory in a row and never once they have been challenged in this tournament.
India have already secured their semifinal berth and are on top of the points table heading into the knockout phase.
”The best thing we have done in this tournament is we have focused on our cricket, and not really worried about the opposition.
”That is something we have done really as a group. That is not going to change. We’re still looking to do our things, processes right whichever teams we are playing against,” Rathour said.
India next take on the Netherlands in Bengaluru on November 12.