'His form will be crucial': Rohit Sharma overlooks Kohli to pin hopes on India superstar for World Cup glory
Rohit Sharma was all praise for the India superstar in the press conference. India announced its World Cup squad on Tuesday.
Breathing fire in India's Asia Cup 2023 opener against Pakistan, speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi pocketed the prized scalps of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli inside the first seven overs of the blockbuster encounter on Saturday. Rohit's Team India was reduced to 66-4 in 14.1 overs and the Men In Blue were on the verge of an embarrassing batting collapse at Pallekele.
From 66-4 to 204-5, Rohit's crestfallen side staged a stunning comeback against Pakistan in the continental tournament. With Team India having their back against the wall, it was Hardik Pandya, who stepped up and rescued the Men In Blue from a precarious situation. Joining forces with an on-song Ishan Kishan, the vice-captain guided India to a respectable total.
Allowing young Kishan to play his natural game, Pandya played the role of an anchor to help India fight back against their arch-rivals. A day after India sealed its berth in the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup, the two-time world champions announced its squad for the World Cup. The white-ball maverick was named India's vice-captain for the ICC event. Speaking to reporters at the press conference, Rohit gave his deputy Pandya a special mention.
'Hardik's form will be crucial'
“His form will be crucial to us. He’s a guy who does both the things (batting and bowling), and that’s important. In the last year or so he has come up with the bat and his bowling has been good too. That’s important for us,” Rohit said after chief selector Ajit Agarkar announced India's 15-member squad for the 50-over World Cup.
Wicketkeeper-batter Kishan, who replaced KL Rahul in India's lineup for the Asia Cup group stage, retained his spot in the Indian squad for the World Cup. Kishan played a crucial knock of 82 against Pakistan while vice-captain Pandya top-scored (87) for India against Babar and Co. at the Asia Cup. Pandya and Kishan added 138 runs for the fifth as India reached 266 in the rain-marred contest.
'Ishan and Hardik put their hands up'
“You saw the quality in the last game against Pakistan. Ishan and Hardik put their hands up and scored well. Obviously, with bowling too he’s great. He has bowled well in the last year and a half for us. The way he batted in the last game showed that he has a very mature head on his shoulders. These are good signs for us,” the Indian skipper added. After sharing points in their Asia Cup opener, India will meet Pakistan again in the Super 4 stage of the tournament on Sunday.