Important for middle-order to have as much game time as possible: Rohit Sharma

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India captain Rohit Sharma highlighted the importance of giving the middle-order as much game-time as possible post the completion of the ODI series against the West Indies. In blanking the West Indies 3-0, India had batters like Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant making runs while batting in the middle-order.

“In one-day cricket, numbers four, five and six are very, very important numbers. Some of the greats of Indian cricket batted at that number. I think it’s a very crucial number. For us, whoever bats at four, five, six, they get enough game-time and if we have the bowling option in those guys, nothing like it. Honestly, for me, it’s important for them to have as much game-time as possible. We have got a lot of candidates for that number,” said Sharma in the post-match virtual press conference.

Sharma further felt that many batters making runs in the middle-order during the West Indies series is good for the team. “But it’s a good headache to have and to have competition within themselves to come out and play and perform. If you see why I mentioned about the middle-order because it was important for them to put up a performance like that. Everyone in the middle-order, whenever they have an opportunity to bat, they performed and got the runs as well. They batted in difficult situations as well, like in the last two games, we were 40-odd for three and had to build innings from there. In both games, we managed to do that. So, it’s a good sign moving forward.”

In the second and third ODIs, India was placed in precarious situations, 43/3 and 42/3 respectively while batting first. In Wednesday’s match, Rahul and Yadav stood up to rebuild the innings while on Friday, Iyer and Pant resurrected the Indian innings. Sharma pointed out that different individuals standing up to restore stability to India’s innings was a positive for the team.

“That is what we were looking for in this particular series. Moving forward from here as well, we are looking for a lot of these individuals to stand up and take that responsibility and bail the team out of difficult situations. Today, we saw Shreyas Iyer, the way he batted and got 80-odd. Rishabh Pant came out and put up that score (56). Deepak Chahar, Washington, all these guys batted brilliantly.”

“What was good to see in this series was different guys taking responsibility, finishing the game and doing the job for the team. In the bowling department, it was actually contributed by everyone and in the batting department, it was mainly the middle orders who came and did the job for us. It’s a good sign moving forward where a lot of different individuals are stepping up taking responsibility and doing the job done for the team. Moving forward, it’s a very positive sign.”

The 34-year-old had a good laugh on whether the team management was worried over the continued lean patch of Virat Kohli. “Virat Kohli needs to be given confidence? What are you saying yaar? Not making a hundred is a different thing. He played in the series against South Africa, where he got two half-centuries in three games. I don’t see anything wrong and team management is not worried about that.”

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