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Rohit Sharma’s childhood coach Dinesh Lad analyzes India captain's troubles in recent T20 World Cup

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Rohit Sharma wasn't his usual prolific self in the T20 World Cup

Team India captain Rohit Sharma’s childhood coach Dinesh Lad has spoken about the shortcomings of the Indian openers during the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Lad discussed the issues plaguing the Indian team, especially the two batsmen at the top.

Despite topping Group 2 of the Super 12 stage, Rohit and co. were thrashed by England, the eventual winners of the Cup, in the semi-final clash in Adelaide by 10 wickets. India’s wait for an elusive ICC trophy has been extended to a decade as their last triumph in a global tournament was in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy under MS Dhoni.

The Men in Blue, back at home, drew flak for their disastrous exit from the showpiece event. The captain and coach faced severe criticism for poor team management.

The four-member selection panel, led by a former pace bowler Chetan Sharma, was dismissed with fresh applications being invited by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

One of the big drawbacks of India’s ordinary T20 World Cup campaign was the openers’ underwhelming performances, particularly in the powerplay overs. KL Rahul (128 runs in six matches) and Rohit Sharma (116 runs in six games) floundered as India managed only 217 runs in the first six overs of all their innings in the tournament.

Dinesh Lad pointed out how the Rahul-Rohit pair have been feeble in terms of scoring compared to the opening combination of Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan.

“The thing is before this, what used to happen is Rohit tried to stay on the wicket in the powerplay. It was because Shikhar (Dhawan) was hitting the ball when he played with Rohit.
“Rahul is also giving a chance to him like you just stay and I will take the chance. What happened this year is Rahul is not in that particular form. That is the main reason behind it. Rohit had to go after the shots because in the first two or three overs we almost had 10 runs."

Rahul played just a couple of T20 World Cups and had undergone surgery for a sports hernia four months before the event.

The surprising fact was that a compact batter like Rohit Sharma, who has played in all seven editions of the T20 World Cup, succumbed to pressure when it came to delivering as the captain of the side.

In the words of Lad, Rohit tried to strike every ball after they missed chances in the initial overs to score runs. As a result, they came under pressure and lost their wickets.

“The strike rate was so poor that it was compulsory that they were going to go after the chance (big shots). At that particular time, he was having some success but was also getting out. So that’s why T20 cricket is not cricket. If you succeed, then it's ok, but if you aren’t, then everyone says there is poor performance.”

Lad further lauded Virat Kohli, who was the highest run-getter of the tournament - 296 runs in six games at 98.66. Explaining how Kohli’s batting approach was different from the Indian openers in the T20 WC, the Mumbai-based coach said:

“If you see Virat (Kohli) batting, he played with a straight bat. He took his time and then he started hitting. At first, he was rotating strikes with singles and doubles. He wasn’t hitting each and every ball.”

When asked about the criticism over Rohit’s fitness standards, his childhood coach denied any such shortcomings:

“I don’t think so because it has been the same Rohit in the last two years. No, I don’t think so (that Rohit was slow while running between the wickets)."

"If he leads, then it's a good thing" - Dinesh Lad on Rohit Sharma's future as India captain

With India’s recent 1-0 T20I series win over New Zealand, there is a demand over the adoption of split captaincy for different formats. Hardik Pandya’s elevation as the country’s permanent T20I skipper is being called for by many.

Rohit Sharma took over the T20I captaincy reign from Virat Kohli after the completion of last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE. He has led India in 51 T20I matches and the team has been victorious on 39 occasions.

Rohit has recorded 13 bilateral series wins under his captaincy apart from winning the Nidahas Trophy and the Asia Cup in 2018.

While giving his point of view on whether Rohit should lead India to the next World Cup at home, Lad said:

“This all depends on the management and I cannot have a say in that. If he is captaining India, then for me, it's still a great thing as my student is leading India, so I would be content with it. Definitely (on Rohit leading India to the 2023 World Cup) it’s prestigious because if he leads, then it's a good thing. What has he done wrong? He has won us so many matches, unfortunately we didn’t win the World Cup and Asia Cup. It’s a team game, not an individual game.”

Rohit, Rahul and Kohli have been rested from India’s ongoing tour of New Zealand. Senior opener Shikhar Dhawan is leading the team in the three-match ODI series against the hosts.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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