Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar reckons Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is an ‘underrated’ captain and that he doesn’t get enough credit for his tactics.
Under the captaincy of Rohit, MI have won a record five IPL titles - the most by any franchise in the history of the league.
Gavaskar points out the recent example of how MI outsmarted Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator to advance to the second qualifier where they will take on defending champions Gujarat Titans on Friday night.
Akash Madhwal, Gavaksar said, was bowling over the wicket when he got rid of LSG batter Ayush Badoni.
For the next batter Nicholas Pooran, a lefty, Madhwal went round the wicket and produced a peach of a delivery to get him for a golden duck. Gavaskar says nobody is praising Rohit for telling the uncapped fast bowler to make the switch.
“Of course, he (Rohit) is underrated," Gavaskar told India Today. “The man has won five titles for Mumbai Indians. Let me give you an example. Madhwal got Ayush Badoni, bowling over the wicket. He then went round the wicket to the left-hander Nicholas Pooran. Not a lot of bowlers necessarily do that because if they get their rhythm going bowling over the wicket, they will stick to over the wicket even it’s a left-hander. They will try to the ball away from the left-hander. But he went around the wicket and produced an absolute gem of a delivery and got the man out.
Gavaskar, the first batter in Test history to score 10,000 runs, then said had this been done by Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni, people would have attributed it to the genius of the wicketkeeper-batter.
“If that had been CSK and Dhoni was the captain, everybody would have said ‘Dhoni plotted Nicholas Pooran’s dismissal’. This is what happens to a great extent. There is also a little bit of hype, things sometimes work out," Gavaskar said.
Madhwal produced stunning figures of 5/5 to help MI thrash LSG by 81 runs in Chennai and thus equaled the record for the most economical five-for in IPL history.
“What I am saying is Rohit Sharma did not get the credit for telling Madhwal to bowl around the wicket," Gavaskar said.
He then gave another example how MI went against the grain to bring Nehal Wadhera as an Impact Player during their innings instead of using it to add an extra bowling option.
Wadhera scored 23 off 12 as MI finished with a challenging total of 182/8.
“The captaincy situation as well. Remember, Nehal Wadhera was used as an impact player batting first. Teams generally don’t use batters as Impact Player when they are batting first. But Rohit used Nehwal when MI were batting first against LSG. So please give him credit for that as well," Gavaskar said.