Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul© AFP
For a cricket powerhouse like India, an ICC trophy has been eluding them since 2013. The last time India won an ICC event – the 2013 Champions Trophy – MS Dhoni was still the captain. Now, Rohit Sharma is leading the team. After four wins in the five matches, India finished on top of Group 2 to qualify for the semi-final, where they face England on Thursday. However, Rohit Sharma hasn’t quite performed according to expectation. Barring a half-century against Netherlands, he failed to strike big against Pakistan (4), South Africa (15), Bangladesh (2) and Zimbabwe (15). Rohit’s fellow opener KL Rahul is in better form with two half-centuries so far, but he too failed to go big in the first three games.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said that the duo plays in an “old-fashioned” way. “You have to say they have underperformed in world tournaments. At times they have played some timid cricket with the bat for the players they have and when working for Sky last summer their former coach Ravi Shastri said that is something they have to change,” Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
“Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul do play in a slightly old-fashioned way in the first few overs but that has suited India in this tournament because the ball has moved around at the start. India need to be more dynamic if they are going to win World Cups and that is where Suryakumar Yadav — or SKY as he is known — has been so important.”
Hussain was effusive in his praise for Suryakumar, who has scored 225 runs in five games at the T20 World Cup.
“India’s dynamism will come at three and four where Virat Kohli is still the master and now has a considerable apprentice in SKY. I don’t think I have ever seen a better white-ball innings than the one Kohli played against Pakistan in the group stage at Melbourne. The way he paced his innings as well as some of the shots he played at the end — like hitting Haris Rauf straight back over his head for six — were remarkable. Any professional cricketer watching that on TV would have sat up and just said ‘wow!'” Hussain wrote.
This is the fourth time that India have entered the semi-final of the T20 World Cup. They have won the tournament only once in 2007.
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