Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team Image Credits: BCCI

Saba Karim, former Indian cricketer and selector stated that Team India’s new template in the format will be to make the most of the field restrictions as he highlighted Rohit Sharma’s attacking approach at the top of the order in the T20I series opener against West Indies.

Speaking on his YouTube channel Khelneeti, he pointed out that the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli looked to play aggressively during the powerplay.

Saba Karim. – File photo of former wicketkeeper - The Hindu
Saba Karim. – File photo of former wicketkeeper – The Hindu

Saba Karim: Rohit Sharma Ensured That He Maintained His Healthy Strike Rate

Saba Karim mentioned that while Rohit Sharma tends to start slow, he helped the side get off to a flying start on this occasion. Skipper Rohit Sharma was unperturbed by his opening partner Ishan Kishan’s struggles. He was in decent flow at the other end, scoring a quick-fire 40 off 19 deliveries to set up the run chase.

Saba Karim said: “India’s new template for T20Is will be to maximize the powerplay. Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli tried to do the same in the 1st T20I. They opened with Ishan Kishan because of the same. Sharma’s strike rate in powerplays has been low, but he ensured that he maintained a healthy strike rate during those overs this time.”

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: AFP

Rohit Sharma contributed with a quick-fire knock of 40 runs from just 19 deliveries. The right-handed batter dazzled viewers with his strokeplay as he took the West Indies bowlers to the cleaners. The second T20I is scheduled for Friday, with all the games to be played at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. The only concern for India has been Virat Kohli’s form and he would definitely want a bigger knock than the scores of 8, 18, 0, and 17 so far in the assignment.

Saba Karim: Suryakmar Yadav And Venkatesh Iyer Looked Upon As Finishers By Team Management

The West Indies team made a comeback in the 1st T2I by dismissing Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant cheaply. However, Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer’s unbeaten partnership of 48 helped the Men in Blue chase down the target of 158 in the 19th over. The cricketer-turned-commentator suggested that the Indian think tank is considering Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer for the role of finishers in T20Is.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Suryakumar Yadav returned unbeaten on 34(18) while Venkatesh Iyer scored 24(13) as India chased down the 158-run target with seven balls to spare. After inviting West Indies to bat first the visitors piled 157/7 in 20 overs.

In response, India raced to 50 in the first 5 overs. Ishan Kishan was slow off the blocks but he picked up his pace after Rohit Sharma smashed Odean Smith for 22 runs in one over. Their stand came to an end on 64 as Roston Chase got the wicket of Rohit Sharma (40 off 19).

Saba Karim reckoned that the combination could prove to be very successful for the side, given the two players’ batting styles. He added that while Suryakumar Yadav has the ability to keep the scoreboard ticking with his smart batting, Venkatesh Iyer can contribute with big shots.

He added: “India’s team management is looking at Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer for the finisher’s role. While Yadav is a smart batter who improvises a lot, Iyer has great power-hitting abilities.”

India and West Indies will battle it out in the 2nd T20I of the 3-match series on Friday (February 18) at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It will be a must-win encounter for the West Indies as they look to remain afloat in the series.