Rohit Sharma has stated that the Indian management has full support for Rishabh Pant’s batting abilities and knows the kind of impact that the wicket-keeper can have for the team in his own unique style. Sharma further added that he had his plan to respect the good balls in the first hour of play.
It was a deja vu in a package as Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar proved to be the main difference for the side after India lost 6 wickets for 146, with a mini scare of conceding the first-innings lead to England. The duo took the score to 259 before Pant was dismissed but not before India sitting on a healthy lead to safeguard them from the danger of a tricky fourth innings chase.
Even though Jack Leach accounted for a couple of wickets, India managed to keep him at bay by the virtue of the match-up not working in Leach’s favor. It led to Joe Root and Dom Bess bowling most of the overs to the TN-Delhi duo and they also never let any of the spinners settle with their attacking mindset. Rohit detailed that that approach was very important on tricky wickets like the one dished out in Ahmedabad.
“The talk in the last three matches especially was when you bowl on the stumps, you never know what it was going to happen. Whether it would take a turn or it would hold the line. When two right-handers were batting in the first couple of sessions, he was targeting to do the same from over the wicket,” Rohit said in the press conference.
“But when two left-handers came, he was using the rough which was absolutely fine. There was a little bit of turn on offer. I think we negotiated that pretty well with both the left-handers batted with a very attacking mindset. That approach was very very important when you bat on a pitch like that.
“Especially when you are back foot, like we were to be honest after losing wickets, the partnership between Pant and Washi really brought us back and we can take as much lead as possible. I hope Axar and Washi can bat with the same intent tomorrow as well.”
In the first hour of the play, Joe Root almost ran the pace bowling duo of Anderson and Stokes to the ground with the wicket providing some assistance to the pacers. They were successful in reducing India to 41/3 and then 80/4 but Rohit was in a different zone altogether. The Indian opener stated that Anderson and Stokes used the moisture to great effect and he decided to respect the ball going outside of the off stump.
“Anderson and Stokes used the moisture to great effect and they swung and seamed because of that. My plan was very simple - not to take many chances in the first 30-45 minutes and rather just play out the bad balls. I planned to respect the balls outside the off-stump and I told Pujara the same as well.
“Virat and I also discussed the same and we knew that the pitch was not flat. His dismissal was because of the extra bounce. When Ajju came out to bat, he scored some quick runs. It was very important for us to get those runs. On a wicket like this, those runs really matter a lot.”
Rishabh Pant batted in his own inimitable style and gave England the scare for life with a flawless century that had many improvisations. Especially the reverse lap to James Anderson over the slip cordon spoke about his growing stature. On being asked about that, Rohit said the team management gave complete freedom to Pant to express himself.
“Pant has his own style of batting. There have been messages from team management on how he needs to bat. But he is batting in his own style and that is absolutely fine from a team management perspective because he is getting the job done. In the first half of the innings, he was trusting his defense and once we got to 200, he wanted to take on the bowlers.
“You need such players in the team who are not afraid to take on the bowlers and ready to grab the chances in both hands. He is a guy who will play his shots and get out by playing such shots. He is the one who got us to this period and we saw this in Australia. We completely like that.”