The Indian top order witnessed a bitter collapse in the opening Asia Cup 2023 game against Pakistan, with the top three of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shubman Gill departing without contributing much with the bat. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah did quite well with the ball until the pairing of Ishan Kishan and Hadik Pandya stabilised the Indian ship. Speaking of India’s top-order collapse, iconic batter Sunil Gavaskar said that while Rohit and Virat got out to good deliveries, Shubman didn’t look like himself in the game.
“Both the batters (Rohit and Virat) could’ve used their feet a bit better. Rohit Sharma had a big gap between his bat and pad. Shreyas Iyer was a bit unlucky. That was a cracking hook shot but it went straight to the fielder. If the fielder could’ve been 5 meters left or right, it would’ve been a boundary. Shubman Gill, for some strange reason, looked very subdued. Didn’t look as if he was playing his natural game, seemed to be in some of uncertainty around him. That’s why he didn’t open his account for a long time and hardly looked the Shubman Gill that we know,” Gavaskar said on India Today.
While the trio of Rohit, Virat and Shubman were disappointing, Gavaskar was full of praise for Ishan and Hardik for the manner in which they handled the pressure and took India out of a troublesome position.
“Yes, I think what he showed was that an opening batter can bat anywhere down the order. It’s not easy the other way around, where a middle-order batter can come in and open the batting. It’s not easy, but an opening batter can be accommodated anywhere down the order, and he brings a left-handed dimension to the Indian batting line. If you could look at the top four, they’re all right and then the left-hander comes in, so it makes it a little bit difficult for the bowlers.
“Plus, he’s got this great ability to accelerate. He looks very, very small, but he packs a punch. He hit a couple of big sixes and the way he batted really was impressive because generally he likes to get after the bowling. But he was watchful when it was needed, recognized, realised what the situation was,” Gavaskar said.
Hardik emerged as India’s top-scoring batter in the match, registering an 87-run knock in 90 balls as the Indian team put a respectable score of 266 runs on the board.
“There was, of course, Hardik Pandya at the other end who captained the Gujarat Titans. So he knows exactly you know what situation, how to adjust his game and he was guiding him. So that was a very, very good partnership. Without that partnership, India would have 175 or 200,” said Gavaskar.
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