Washington Sundar’s addition as back-up to injured Axar Patel for the Asia Cup final has an underlying message. The allrounder is ahead of his Tamil Nadu spinner R. Ashwin in India’s World Cup scheme of things.
The left-handed batter, whose off-spin prowess has come to the more frequently, especially in T20 cricket, joined the squad on Saturday afternoon as the team management awaited Axar’s scan reports ahead of Sunday’s final against Sri Lanka.
Washington’s addition is also in sync with the team management’s insistence on bolstering lower-order batting. On the slow turners in Sri Lanka, batting deep, especially in a moderate run-chase, is paramount. It was highlighted during India’s loss against Bangladesh on Friday.
In a long tournament like the World Cup, batting on slow turners has been an issue for India. It struggled in Bangladesh at the end of 2022, then versus Australia in Chennai in March. On Friday at Khettarama, despite having rested key batters Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya.
Shubman Gill, the centurion on Friday, admitted India has been working on this area. “It is not a concern. But it is definitely an area that we are trying to improve on. We had a camp in Bangalore before coming here, and we were practising on similar wickets,” said Gill, whose 121 went in vain as India lost by six runs.
We know the World Cup is such a long tournament as we go deeper into the tournament, the wicket tends to get slower. But yeah, it is not easy for batsmen who are coming in to rotate the strike and minimise those dot balls and that’s what as a batting unit and bowling group that we are looking to work on.”
Despite anchoring the chase with his fourth ODI hundred in 2023, Gill failed to finish the game off. The youngster acknowledged it as a learning.
“There is so much adrenaline when you are batting. Sometimes you miscalculate, it was a miscalculation on my part but when you go out there and see a lot of time is left, and if I would have batted a bit normally or not that aggressive then we should have got over the line,” he said. “But these are the learnings, and fortunately this game wasn’t the final for us. So, these are the kind of learnings that I would like to take as a batsman.”
Gill added that winning the final is extremely important for India to create “a winning habit” and start “peaking at the right time” ahead of the World Cup. “Winning here will give us a lot of momentum and confidence going into the World Cup,” he said.
/ 3 years ago
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