Karthik Wasn’t Happy About Batting Down the Order: Rohit Sharma
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
India captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday, 18 March, explained why Vijay Shankar was sent in to bat ahead of the experienced Dinesh Karthik in the Nidahas T20 tri-series final against Bangladesh. In a last-ball thriller, India managed to chase Bangladesh’s 166 after Karthik (29 of 8 balls) smashed a six off the final delivery.
“I thought Mustafizur (Rahman) would bowl probably the 18th and the 20th overs, and we wanted an experienced guy to handle him,” said Sharma at the post-match press conference in Colombo.
"He was with us on the previous tour in South Africa and didn't get much game time. To do what he did today will give him a lot of confidence going forward.
"Most important thing he has is belief in himself. Whatever situation comes, he's ready – whether he bats up the order or down the order. That's the kind of guy we need in our team," he said.
Rohit also revealed that Karthik wasn’t too pleased with his batting spot in the crucial final, but the Indian skipper defended his decision of sending him at number 7, saying his experience and skills made him a suitable candidate to provide the late charge in the final overs.
"But I told him: 'I want you to bat and finish off the game for us, because whatever skill you have, it will be required in the last three or four overs.’ That is the only reason he was not batting at number 6 in the 13th over when I got out. He was upset with that, but he'll be quite happy now how he finished off the game."
Washington Sundar, along with Yuzvendra Chahal, finished as the tournament's highest wicket-takers, with eight dismissals apiece, and Rohit singled out the all-rounder for special praise.
"I think throughout the series Sundar's bowling has been magical for us. What he has done with the new ball is quite incredible, I would say. Not anyone can just take the pressure of bowling within the Power Play. Not to forget he also got wickets at the same time. He didn't allow any of the opposition to score runs really in the Power Play," Rohit said.
"The skillset that he has – he's quite courageous to do what he wants to do in the middle. It's not just one or two games. He consistently bowled in the Power Play, and always kept us in the games. We identified him as one of the promising talents who can play for the national team for many years. This tournament will give him a lot of confidence."
Rohit said the young team showed character and executed the plans perfectly.
"Great tournament for us. Everybody who played, they showed lots of character. These games are not easy and these guys have not played a lot for the national team. And this performance will give them a lot of confidence. Some of them went for runs, but they will learn from it," he said.
Sundar, who was adjudged the Man of the Series, said it was challenging to bowl in the Power Play.
"It means a lot, especially such an award at such a young age. It's a challenging role (bowling in Power Play) but when playing for your country, it's just an honour," he said.
“I've always wanted to read the batsmen's mind, and that's what I have been trying to do. I really wanted to be there when we win the game and I think Dinesh bhai played really well and it turned out to be a memorable series for me."
Though disappointed to end up on the losing side, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan praised his team for playing well throughout the series and credited India for showing better nerves under pressure to pull off the narrow win in the final.
"You can't ask for more in a final like this. I thought we played superbly, anybody could have won the game, but India held their nerves well," he said.
"We wanted to bowl our best bowler in the 18th and 19th. But even if Rubel had gone for 15 an over, we could have handled it. He didn't miss his length too much but credit to Dinesh Karthik to just come out and hit sixes from his first ball.
"We knew 166 would be tough to defend, we had a good feeling though, everyone did their best, gave their 100 percent. It hurts to lose, but we played well. We can still take lots of positives from here and someday we can be on the winning side."
(With inputs from PTI)
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