'Time for Rohit Sharma to figure out playing XI': Saba Karim on constant experimentation by India captain

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, August 03, 2022, 03:49 PM IST
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Rohit Sharma | Video Screengrab

Former India cricketer Saba Karim believes that with the T20 game evolving rapidly, it is heartening to see skipper Rohit Sharma and the team management trying different strategies and playing with an attacking mindset in the last few series.

"The T20 game is kind of evolving and we need to keep pace with the fast nature of the format. So, I think keeping this in mind, it is a good thought from the Indian team management, especially from the captain to lead the way," Saba Karim said on Sports18's show 'Sports Over The Top' on Wednesday.

Delight to watch

"The way he has played in T20 cricket over the past few games, it's wonderful to watch Rohit Sharma and company play in that kind of a manner. But at times on a tough track like what we saw yesterday (in the second T20I vs West Indies), it also makes sense to be more sensible in the approach."

During the second T20I at St Kitts, India's batting failed to fire, with openers Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav getting 0 and 11 respectively, while Shreyas Iyer too was dismissed for 10 as the tourists could manage just 138. West Indies then won by five wickets to level the series 1-1.

"So if you've lost 3-4 wickets in a powerplay, because before the game begins or while you're batting, you get to know what is a powerplay in a particular T20 match. So accordingly you can maybe shift your gears as per the need of the day," opined Saba Karim.

Issues against left-arm seamers

The former wicketkeeper-batter also pointed out how Indian batters are struggling against left-arm pace attack. "It's been a problem with Indian batters and that is why I feel at this stage, at the international stage each individual, need to work out their plans. But to do so, one has to admit that Indian top order batters or the middle order batters do have issues with left-arm seam bowling.

"I've seen that in the recent past also. So, whether it is England's Reece Topley or David Willy, before that (Pakistan's) Shaheen Afridi or (New Zealand's) Trent Boult, (Australia's) Mitchell Starc, all left (left-arm bowlers) pose problems for the Indian batters. So, you do have Rahul Dravid, you do have Vikram Rathore, the batting coach. I think they need to put their minds together and work out some kind of plan to overcome this major hurdle in the Indian batting line-up," opined Saba Karim.

Karim also gave his thoughts on Suryakumar Yadav opening in T20. "I tend to differ on this aspect. I just feel that now the time has come for Rohit Sharma to figure out his kind of 11, plus the combination and the slots. I can understand the middle order slot being more fluid from 4, 5, 6, 7. You can push in anybody up front if you have lesser number of overs. But 1, 2, 3, even in a T20 format, they're very specialised kind of a slot. So you need to put in your regular number one, number two and number three.

"And if your regular number 3 for instance, in this case Virat Kohli, (is not there) then you get somebody who can come into that position. So you need to play with them instead of pushing Suryakumar Yadav up the order," opined Karim.

Rise of Arshdeep Singh

Karim also said he hopes Arshdeep Singh makes it to the T20 World Cup squad. "I have high hopes from Arshdeep Singh because he adds so much of variety to the attack. Plus he's kind of multidimensional in terms of the slots of overs that he can come in and bowl. Plus, he is learning each and every day and you need that kind of left armer in your attack who has got so much of variation. So yes, I think he's pretty high on the pecking order in terms of World Cup selection."

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