Rohit Sharma-led Team India leveled the ongoing three-match T20I series against Australia after the hosts won the rain-curtailed second T20I by six wickets on Friday at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. Chasing 91 in eight overs, skipper Rohit starred with the bat as he played an unbeaten knock of 46 runs off just 20 balls with the help of 4 fours and 4 sixes. Needing 9 runs of the final over, Dinesh Karthik provided the finishing touch as he smashed a six and a four to seal the game for Team India.
After the match ended, Karthik speaking at a post-match press conference, shed light on why Axar Patel was sent ahead of him in the first T20I, how he looks to practice for the finisher role and what makes skipper Rohit truly a world-class player.
“Look, I have been practicing over a period of time for this, and I have been doing it for RCB and I am happy doing it here. It is a consistent routine over a period of time. When I get off time, I get a lot of scenario practice. Vikram Rathour and Rahul Dravid have also been accommodating of how I want to practice, and what shots I want to practice. I have been very specific about it, I don’t practice too much, I just keep it as specific as possible,” said Karthik.
“Rohit Sharma played brilliantly. I got two balls, so I just tried my best there. To play such shots against the new ball, against top-class new ball bowlers, is not easy. It shows why Rohit is such a big player in world cricket, not only Indian cricket. His ability to play against fast-bowling is second to none and that is what makes him truly special,” he added.
When asked the thought process behind sending Axar ahead of him in the first T20I, Karthik said: “I understand this question. It is something we are trying. There are times they (management) feel that there could be a couple of overs where Axar Patel could target the spinner and take them on. That was the kind of logic at that stage and having a left-hander when a leg-spinner is bowling, it is a good match-up. We try and use that option sometimes, depending on how the game is unraveling at that point in time.”
For the second T20I, Team India made two changes as they brought in Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant in place of Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Talking about why an extra batter was brought into the lineup, Karthik said: “Today, we had four bowlers, unlike before, you could bowl two overs each. Four bowlers were required to finish eight overs, but we had five options. When you have five options, that is the luxury of having a world-class all-rounder like Hardik Pandya. I think when he is there, you’re 11 gets balanced really well.”
“That is what makes him so special, that is where I think India has been really blessed. If he does well, it is always great for Indian cricket. Axar Patel also coming good with the bat will help India. That helps the balance of XI. Everyone knows about Rishabh Pant’s quality, yes he could not bat but we all know what quality he brings to the table,” he stated further.
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