As the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 progresses, former Indian cricketer and commentator S. Badrinath has shared his insights on India’s impressive performance, highlighting their strong display and the leadership of Rohit Sharma. Badrinath also delved into the resurgence of spinner Kuldeep Yadav and the balance in India’s bowling lineup, offering valuable perspectives on the team’s approach.
In an exclusive interview with Star Sports, Badrinath commended Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, emphasizing that the skipper has backed the right players and displayed confidence in the likes of Shardul Thakur, especially in light of the expected absence of Hardik Pandya for the upcoming game against England. This demonstrates Sharma’s ability to make strategic decisions that could pay off for the team.
Badrinath talks about Rohit Sharma’s captaincy
S. Badrinath said, “First, his captaincy has been very good. He’s stuck to the process and backed the right players. Especially, he’s showing a lot of confidence in Shardul Thakur, and it’s probably time for that move to pay off, considering Hardik Pandya is likely missing from tomorrow’s game, and Shardul has been playing well. That’s some good news right there.
Badrinath also noted the strong relationship between Rohit Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav, attributing the spinner’s resurgence to technical adjustments and the captain’s support. Under Sharma’s leadership, Yadav has gained confidence and has been able to express himself, which has contributed to his improved performance.
“Two things. If you consider it from a technical standpoint, he’s worked on his run-up, making it much straighter, which provides more momentum to his bowling. Additionally, he’s improved his non-bowling arm, which is now coming much straighter. These two technical adjustments have increased his airspeed. He used to typically bowl in the early 80s, but now he’s consistently bowling between 85-90 km/h, which is generally the ideal speed for spinners in ODI cricket. Tactically, I think he’s feeling a lot more confident under Rohit’s captaincy. He’s getting the space to express himself and execute his bowling. So, these factors are working for him.”
“I think the captain-player relationship between them is really strong. Overall, I think Rohit is like a big brother type of captain. He’s easy-going and has a great relationship with the boys. So, I think he’s doing pretty well, and his batting form has been tremendous. He’s spoken about it before, saying that he’s going to play positively right from the word go, and that’s precisely what he’s been doing.”
When asked about India’s bowling lineup, Badrinath described it as the “most balanced” in the World Cup. He highlighted the versatility of Jasprit Bumrah, who can be used in various roles, and the excellent form of Mohammed Siraj. With the inclusion of wrist spinners and left-arm spinners, along with Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur, India’s bowling attack covers all the bases.
“I wouldn’t say best, but I would use the words ‘Most Balanced’, because Bumrah is there and he’s a 360 degree bowler who can be used anywhere, and we have got Siraj who is in great form. Apart from that we have a wrist spinner and a really good left-arm spinner along with Hardik and Shardul in the mix, I think it’s the most balanced bowling lineup in this World Cup probably.”
Considering Hardik Pandya‘s absence, Badrinath suggested playing an additional bowler in the lineup to ensure there are enough options to bowl 10 overs in a match. He emphasized the importance of having a balanced team, especially when key players are unavailable.
“See Hardik is a big miss because let’s be honest he’s the key player who provides the balance for Rohit and Team India. But I personally will be looking to play a bowler, be it Shami or Ashwin it doesn’t matter, because I want a bowler in there who can bowl 10 overs because I don’t see Shardul bowling 10 overs match on match because that will be difficult. So the comfort was there when Hardik was behind him, but since he is not, I will go with a bowler.”
Addressing concerns about India’s middle order, which hasn’t been thoroughly tested in the tournament, Badrinath acknowledged it as a fact but not a matter of concern. He emphasized that India’s top order has been dominant, and there’s no reason to worry about the middle order as long as the team continues to perform at a high level.
“See it’s a fact that India’s middle order has not been tested, but it’s not a matter of concern, because India have been dominating and the top order is getting runs so can’t call it a concern, but a fact. But these things happen in sport, you can’t pay the price for playing too good cricket. I hope the 2019 demons don’t come and haunt India, that’s my only worry.”