Veteran India leg-spinner Piyush Chawla believes captain Rohit Sharma’s return to making big runs in the Asia Cup has shown that form comes back in some way ahead of a big tournament like the upcoming Men’s ODI World Cup at home.
Rohit is leading the run-charts in the Asia Cup, scoring 194 runs in four innings, averaging 64.66, including hitting three half-centuries at a strike-rate of 108.98. The right-handed batter had topped the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup run-charts with 648 runs laced with five hundreds.
"This is the identity of a big player, just as we approach a big tournament, he comes back into form some way or the other, and he has shown this at the Asia Cup. This is the Rohit Sharma we all know. He is not trying to hit the ball hard; it’s just lazy elegance. He is focusing on timing the ball, and from the outside, it looks so fun to watch because he makes batting look pretty easy.”
“And these are good signs for Indian cricket because when your openers are giving you a good start, you get a bigger score, and it helps the middle order. And it is very important that when your middle order is good, then if your openers give you a good start, it becomes very good for the team,” said Chawla to Star Sports.
India’s next match in the Super Four stage is against Bangladesh at the R Premadasa Stadium on Friday and focus will be on their struggles against left-arm spinners. Against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, left-arm spin all-rounder Dunith Wellalage took a five-wicket haul, highlighting India’s struggles against facing that kind of bowling.
In Bangladesh, captain Shakib Al Hasan is the lead left-arm spinner, who took a five-wicket haul against India in Dhaka last year. Chawla, a member of India’s 2011 World Cup winning team, feels India can hold their own when facing Shakib.
“If we talk about Shakib, he is a very experienced player, and I’ve played against him as well. The way his brain works is very good; he is not a big turner of the ball, but he knows how to bowl in the right areas.”
“So if the Indian team has to play him, we have capable players as well; they will know how to manage against him. I wouldn’t call him a threat; I don’t think that any player is a threat. If you bat well, and India has such a long batting lineup, and a lot of set players, so there shouldn’t be a problem facing him.”
Chawla also feels that Virat Kohli’s issues against left-arm spin shouldn’t be read deeply. “See, that depends on the day; if he really had a problem against left-arm spinners, and you’ve played so many matches, you will get out against someone or the other. If every team thought this way, they would include a left-arm spinner in their team always.”
“But even in the shot he got out to recently (against Sri Lanka), it’s one of his scoring shots; the ball came on late from the pitch and he got out. Generally, that goes between square leg and mid-wicket, and he scores a lot of runs like that. And if we talk about him having a problem against a left-arm spinner, then I don’t think he would have scored 47 centuries in One Day cricket."