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Responsibility of Captaincy has Made Rohit Sharma a Better Batsman: Sunil Gavaskar

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: September 23, 2018, 1:47 PM IST
Responsibility of Captaincy has Made Rohit Sharma a Better Batsman: Sunil Gavaskar

(Image: AFP)

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Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has been highly impressed with the way Rohit Sharma has led India in the 2018 Asia Cup.

Rohit was given the captaincy after Indian selectors opted to rest regular skipper Virat Kohli with an eye on Windies' jam-packed tour of India, which will be followed by India tour of Australia later this year.

Rohit is not new to captaincy. Apart from leading Mumbai Indian to three Indian Premier League titles, he also led India during their 2-1 and 3-0 victories over Sri Lanka in One-Day International and Twenty20 International series in December. It was under Rohit's leadership, India won the Nidahas Trophy against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in March.

There is calmness in Rohit's captaincy and it has been pretty visible in the ongoing Asia Cup where India have won all their three games.

“The first time he led Mumbai Indians to an IPL win, that was his first season as a captain and he impressed straight away with his knowledge of what to do next more than what to plan,” said Gavaskar. “Every time he has got an opportunity to captain India, he has shown his acumen. He has shown how patient he can be, and then as a batsman, the added responsibility only makes him better.”

Despite the burden of captaincy, Rohit has been excellent with the bat. The 31-year-old has scored 158 runs in three games, including two fifties, at an impressive average of 79. Rohit, alongside the in-form Shikhar Dhawan, has given India solid starts in all the three matches.

"He also has a point to prove for his omission from the Test team and is doing it in his own classy style," Gavaskar wrote in his column for Times of India. "There are few better sights in cricket than Rohit Sharma in full flow. Along with Shikhar Dhawan they make the most exciting and destructive opening pair in the world. Both complement each other and take the pressure off each other."

Gavaskar was also impressed with Ravindra Jadeja who made a dream comeback to the One-Day International setup, picking up 4 for 29 against Bangladesh. "I think Ravindra Jadeja merits his place because I believe he is a better bowler, batsman, and fielder (than Axar Patel, who Jadeja replaced),” Gavaskar pointed out.

"Then there’s Kedar Jadhav, who with his various delivery points creates confusion as the batsmen try to line him up. To add to this attack there’s now Jadeja, who has a point to prove to the selectors that he has what it takes to provide the team flexibility.

"The skipper Rohit Sharma has been canny enough to realise that on these surfaces the slower bowlers will be far more effective than the quicker ones and so has used them smartly."

India are set to play Pakistan for the second time in this event on Sunday. The last time these two sides met, India thumped Pakistan by eight wickets in the group stage. However, both India and Pakistan have won their first Super Four clash (against Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively) and will now be eyeing to cement their spot in the final.

"Pakistan’s narrow win over Afghanistan will give them great heart, because narrow wins show the team’s character and determination to do well," Gavaskar added. "What they will want is a better start to their innings for against both India and Afghanistan they didn’t get that. Maybe after two failures, Fakhar Zaman will come good on Sunday. That will certainly be a new challenge for India. Shoaib Malik has shown what experience can do and if the Pakistanis stitch a big partnership then India may have to work harder than they have so far.

"It’s an India versus Pakistan encounter and as we all know nobody can ever predict the result."
First Published: September 23, 2018, 1:34 PM IST
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