Rohit Sharma neglects trio pacer threat ahead of IND-PAK clash

Rohit Sharma joins India squad selection meeting at New Delhi
Rohit Sharma (image; BCCI)

Rohit Sharma-led India is set to meet their arch-rivals Pakistan in the third match of the Asia Cup 2023, at Kandy on September 2.

Rohit Sharma neglects trio pacer threat

The India-Pakistan clash is a highly anticipated one regardless of any tournament they meet on. These rivals had three encounters last year with two meetings in the Asia Cup and one meeting in the T20 World Cup. Pakistan will be entering the ground without any changes in the playing 11 of the first match where they had an easy win with a 238-run difference.

The Indian Skipper is looking forward to win the big tournament rather than focusing on short-term goals. At the pre-match conference, the discussions were about dealing with Pakistan trio pacers who have been troubling the best batter around the world.

Even India struggled against them in the T20 World Cup before Kohli came to the team’s rescue. Despite the uncertainty in the batting unit, the skipper is not worried about the challenges ahead.

He said, “See, we don’t have a Shaheen, Rauf, or Naseem to practice against in our net sessions,” said Rohit. “But we are preparing to the best of our abilities with the resources we have. All three are quality bowlers, have been for some time now, and have been doing well as a unit.

“Pakistan has always had quality bowlers, what their strengths are, we know that and we have experienced players, so it’s about using the experience to deal with the challenge.”

Title Rights For India's Home Games
Indian Cricket Team (image: BCCI)

Rohit also saw Pakistan’s victory in the ODI series against Afghanistan and their win against Nepal with 238 runs victory in the inaugural match.

“Pakistan is a very good team. They’ve done very well in recent times, whether it’s in the T20 World Cup or in the 50-over format. No team becomes the top-ranked team just like that. It takes a lot of hard work and I’m sure that the Pakistan team has worked really hard. They are playing good cricket and it’ll be a good challenge for us to face a team like this.

“We have prepared well for this game. We had some time leading up to this tournament and used it to prepare ourselves. Now we have one day today left to prepare for tomorrow’s game. Hopefully, all the prep and issues that we addressed come out well.”

Currently, India’s batting lineup concerns a lot due to middle-order batsmen injuries. Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and Shreyas Iyer have been injured and sidelined from the team for some actions.

The return of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer who lack real ODI match experience after their injury remains a concern. KL Rahul will be missing a few matches due to his niggle in injury. But Rohit is confident on the fitness of the players available.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul(Image: BCCI)

He said, “I’d rather have this kind of a headache than no headache (at all). It’s always nice within the team environment to have this kind of competition and so many players being available. I know for a fact that when all these players are fit and available and at their best, it will be a challenging task for us to make a playing XI.”

“I hope that all these players stay fresh and stay fit for the next two months. Speaking of just the Asia Cup, I hope that we have no injury concerns and that should be a good sign moving forward.”

Rohit said Team management is ready for all sorts of combination and are ready with their selection plans.

“All sorts of combinations are possible. We saw the game yesterday. There was a bit of swing, a bit of spin, a bit of everything. That is always going to challenge the batters. Luckily we have got experience in our batting line-up and I will let their experience come in play, and play accordingly.”

“Yes, I did talk about taking the game on but it’s also important to read conditions. It’s not the T20 format, it’s the 50-over format where you need to apply a bit more than T20 cricket and for a bit longer. The whole idea of being aggressive and allowing an individual to play their game is very much there.

But we let the individuals make the decisions when they’re in the middle because a few of them, all of them actually have experience of playing under these conditions.”

While asked about Rohit’s performance who has been rested for the Ireland series, he said “I’ve been playing for a while now, so it’s about me using the experience for the team’s good. That’s what I prefer. In the last two years, I’ve played a different style of cricket, I’ve taken a lot more risks and I need to balance risk with the output.

“As a top-order batter, my role is important and it’s crucial for me to lay down a platform. I’ll try to use my experience to good effect. Will try to ensure that I capitalize on my starts or whenever I get into a good rhythm. Important for me to strike that balance.” he concluded.

India had arrived at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium for the final practice session. There is a heavy rain indication around the IND-PAK clash. According to the reports from Weather sources, there is an 80% chance of rain probability in Pallekele on September 2.