NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan skipper and legendary left-arm fast-bowler Wasim Akram believes India should have stuck to what had been working for them instead of changing the opening bowling template for the final of 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup, where they ended up on the losing side.
In the final on November 19, India captain Rohit Sharma decided to give the new ball to Mohammed Shami instead of Mohammed Siraj in defence of 241 against Australia. It worked well as Shami and Jasprit Bumrah took three wickets collectively, before Travis Head slammed a superb 137 and Marnus Labuschagne made 58 not out to take Australia over the line.
“If you ask me, I found Siraj to be bowling really well throughout the World Cup, though his wickets column may not suggest that, but the break throughs he gave in Asia Cup and his recent performances have established him as the future of Indian cricket. In this match they straight away brought in Shami and he did have impact on the game right away by getting Warner out, though it was more like Warner got himself out by slashing at a wide ball.”
“Another factor is that after losing the three wickets within the first 15 overs the due set in, which made it easier for batting as the ball wasn’t doing much after that. I’m not taking credit away from Australia’s batting, but it does psychologically affect the bowlers. I think in big games like the finals, teams should always stick to what they have been doing and what’s been working for them,” said Akram on the Star Sports show “The Final Take”.
Asked if Rohit should have changed his game-plan for the finals, which was to take on the bowlers head on, Akram felt there was no need for the Indian skipper to go away from his set plans.
“He’s played like that the entire World Cup, that’s his game. Nobody complained throughout the World Cup with the starts he’s giving or that he was constantly getting out in the 40’s, and now that he’s done the same in the finals people are finding a reason to complain.”
“And he’s also one of the best players of spin in the world though he got out to Maxwell in the that game, and credit to Maxwell and Cummins, but that’s the nature of Rohit’s game and I don’t think he should change it.”
Akram also felt that if India had scored quickly in the middle overs with the bat, things would have been different. With Australia keeping India on a tight leash through their spot-on bowling and fielding performances, the hosts’ could only get four boundaries from overs 11-40.
“If I have to pick any particular reason, I suppose the middle order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset. I can understand what was going through Rahul’s mind, that there was no batting to come after Jadeja and that he had to bat deep, and batting deep meant he couldn’t take risks of getting out.”
“If possibly Hardik was in the team, he probably would take that risk, but if he had taken a risk and gotten out in this situation, then people would have criticised him for that as well. If they had kept pace and scored quickly in the middle overs, then it would have been a different ball game.” IANS