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Openers Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma have given India perfect launch pad

Openers Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma have given India perfect launch pad

Well begun is half done. A major share of credit for India’s successful ICC Champions Trophy campaign so far goes to the new opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.

In the four matches, their lowest partnership has been 58 in the revised run-chase of 122 against Pakistan last Saturday. With partnerships of 127 against South Africa, 101 against West Indies in the league round and 77 in extremely seaming conditions in Thursday’s semifinal, Dhawan and converted opener Sharma have forged a successful partnership.

They have put to rest all doubts that arose before the tournament started, of whether the batsmen will be able to cope up with the moving English conditions. The main reason for their fruitful outing, as former India captain GR Viswanath put it, “has been their good technique”.

“They have not been too flashy, not trying to score too quickly in the first 10 overs. They have been employing good cricket shots because their techniques have been good,” said the legendary batsman.

Former India opener Anshuman Gaekwad said that the prevailing conditions in England, barring the semifinals, have been un-English.

“In normal conditions in England, the ball is known to seam and move around. We saw Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma do that in the semifinal. In the earlier matches, we did not see that happen. That was a blessing in disguise for our batsmen.

“Having said that, I am not taking away credit from the openers. Shikhar applied himself very well and Rohit is a tremendous player. Also, the left-right combination has been working well as both are busy players, cashing in on the loose deliveries.”

Former all-rounder Sanjay Bangar, who had a fair amount of success opening for India on the 2002 tour of England, said that the key is “to play late, according to your strengths, knowing your limitations and playing under them”.

Gaekwad seconded Bangar’s views, saying “one would succeed in England by playing close to the body and as late as possible”.

“Some of the shots that Rohit and Shikhar played on the up, without much movement of the feet, were good. It is not easy to play on the up in England. Even the good deliveries they missed —which normally get the batsmen out — were brilliant. Also, these two openers are not afraid to play their shots, which shows their high confidence level.”

Viswanath was particularly pleased with the way Sharma has gone about his new role as opener.

“Rohit has always been a good player with sound basic technique. Because of his technique, Rohit can adapt to any condition. Even when the ball was moving as in the last match against Sri Lanka, Rohit came out on top.”

Bangar added that the conditions in England surprised many. “The wicket was not doing that much. Moreover, Dhawan put the opposition on the back foot right from the word go with his attacking shots. This has helped Rohit to take time to settle down. Both have been complementing each other. The openers’, and also the other batsmen’s contributions have been fabulous that the team does not miss the players who are not part of the squad,” said Bangar.

Dhawan and Sharma will be keen to provide another bright start in Sunday’s final at Edgbaston. Viswanath’s advice to Dhoni and Co. was: “Go through the motions and not worry about the opponents. In fact, going by the results, the team that should be worrying is England and not India.”

Gaekwad added: “They should not get complacent. They should forget the past, take it as a new day and go about the way they have gone about in the tournament.”

Source : dna

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