New Delhi, Sep 3: Legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar was left disappointed by the top-order collapse suffered by the side during their Asia Cup clash against Pakistan, stating that veteran batters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli could have used their feet better against Shaheen Shah Afridi.
India were reduced to 66-4 in 15 overs, with Rohit and Kohli being castled by Shaheen, followed by Haris Rauf taking out Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill. India were taken to a competitive total of 266 in 48.5 overs, thanks to sensible knocks from Ishan Kishan (82) and Hardik Pandya (87).
The left-right handed batting duo stepped up in a pressure situation to stitch an important 138-run partnership, before persistent rain had the final say in the match. “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 sort of uncertainty around him. That’s why he didn’t open his account for a long time and hardly looked like the Shubman Gill that we know," said Gavaskar on India Today.
Kishan, who batted at an unfamiliar position in number five after initially slotted to bat at number three, scored 82 off 81 balls in a counter-attacking effort, laced with nine fours and two sixes at a strike rate of 101.23, an effort which earned him Gavaskar’s praise.
"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 also praised Pandya for his calm and controlled batting, as well as for guiding Kishan through the vital fifth-wicket partnership. "There was, of course, Hardik Pandya at the other end who captained the Gujarat Titans. So he knows exactly what the situation is, how to adjust his game and he was guiding him. So that was a very, very good partnership. Without that partnership, India would have (made) 175 or 200."
"Absolutely incredible. Yes, I think again no praise can be too high for the way he shepherded Ishan Kishan through that partnership. And of course, scoring runs himself hitting the boundaries, picking the ones and twos. And he showed that, you know, in a crisis situation to rise to the occasion, that was terrific innings," he concluded.