Reetinder Singh Sodhi has expressed hope that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli can rise above their somewhat indifferent records in tournament deciders and play match-defining knocks in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Team India will face New Zealand in the WTC final, starting at the Aeges Bowl in Southampton on June 18. The Indian team will be relying on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to make a telling contribution in the title decider.
During a discussion on India News, Reetinder Sodhi acknowledged that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have not come up with stellar performances in tournament finals in the past.
"I totally agree with you because stats say a lot. The New Zealand bowlers or their team will also be discussing that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have not done much in such matches, so there they can go on the attack," Sodhi said.
The former India all-rounder however pointed out that the onus will be on the trio of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to play substantial knocks in the WTC final.
"But this is a pressure match and here one out of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will have to play a big knock because they know the conditions and have the experience and can be match-winners on their day," he added.
Sodhi added that Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane can play the supporting role if one of the three aforementioned batsmen delivers the goods. He said:
"After that, Shubman Gill and Rahane can play the cushion role but at the end of the day, one out of your top-class three batsmen will have to fire because this is a pressure-cooker match and whichever team takes a session easy can fall behind."
With Team India going into the WTC final with five frontline bowlers, all the six specialist batsmen, including Rishabh Pant, will have to take the additional responsibility to ensure that they post a fighting score on the board.
This will motivate Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli further: Rajkumar Sharma
Virat Kohli's coach Rajkumar Sharma observed that his ward and Rohit Sharma's slightly indifferent record in tournament finals should act as a motivating factor for the duo.
"I would like to feel that this will motivate both of them further, that they have not performed well in these matches and this is the right time for them to deliver. Both are mature players, they will definitely convert if they get a start and I have full expectation that both are motivated," Sharma said.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be particularly perturbed by their collective failures in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and the 2019 World Cup semi-final.
They will hope to put all those demons to rest by making match-winning contributions in the WTC final.