India openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan went into the game against Sri Lanka despite fitness issues. Although their presence in the playing eleven was not a surprise, it could have been avoided keeping the upcoming World T20 in mind.
However, India maintained their stand of persisting with the same side. So, Rohit, nursing a sore toe after being struck by a Mohammad Amir yorker in the clash against Pakistan on Saturday, reached the ground before the rest of the team and went through fitness drills.
Dhawan, who missed the Pakistan game due to an ankle problem, was asked to play. On the field though, he maintained a low profile. He was at fine-leg for a long time and floundered while trying to save a straightforward shot which went for four.
The duo didn’t click with the bat, either. India restricted Sri Lanka to 138/9. With Sri Lanka pace spearhead Lasith Malinga out due to injury, the openers were expected to give a solid start on a good pitch.
But Dhawan fell for one while Rohit survived a few overs before falling for 15. India perhaps would have been better served by giving a break to at least one of them.
Before the game against Pakistan, both were in fine form, their partnerships having laid the base for many of India’s successes in recent few weeks. India, having won two games, were almost assured of a spot in the final before the Sri Lanka game and their last game is against the unfancied UAE. Hence, they need not have taken the risk.
It was their second successive failure. Dhawan scored two against Bangladesh and Rohit fell for a duck against Pakistan.
Every other team in the Asia Cup is being careful not to risk players who are nursing niggles.