Over the past decade, left-arm bowlers have posed consistent challenges for Indian batsmen, particularly during ICC events. Notable instances include the likes of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson from Australia during the ODI World Cup 2015 semifinals, Mohammed Amir of Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, Trent Boult of New Zealand in the ICC CWC 2019 semifinal, and Shaheen Afridi of Pakistan in a Group Stage match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
On numerous occasions, Indian batsmen have fallen prey to these skilled bowlers, often succumbing without substantial resistance, particularly during the powerplay phase of the innings.
In an exclusive conversation on Star Sports show “Follow The Blues”, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Bangar provided insights on Team India captain Rohit Sharma facing left-arm pace in the nets while preparing for the key battle against Shaheen Afridi on September 2.
Bangar elaborated on how Rohit should face left-arm bowlers during training sessions, “One does not get much chances to play from that angle because most of the teams have a right-hand attack and opening bowling pairs. However, the angle is very crucial keeping in mind where you want to play as a batsman because when a left-arm bowler bowls from close to the stumps and brings it inwards towards the right-hand batsman. One should target the bowler, for that, the head position needs to be perfect and one needs to set himself and think of scoring runs between mid-off and mid-on/mid-wicket areas.
The batsman will get a chance to get into a better position against that angle bowling and one needs to learn and know where runs can be scored against angle bowling and on what aspects the batsman needs to focus more. So, during practice, Rohit would have been focusing on these areas.”
The Asia Cup to be held in Pakistan and Sri Lanka will start from August 30 with the match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan on September 2 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy set to serve as the Men in Blue’s campaign opener.
The squad also marks the return of Jasprit Bumrah to ODI cricket after a gap of more than one year. After proving his fitness in the T20I series against Ireland, Bumrah is set to test himself in the 50-over format heading into the World Cup. India’s pace attack will be boosted by the return of Mohammed Siraj, who was not in the team for some time due to a sore ankle. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer’s returns from injuries will also boost the Indian middle-order.
Tilak Varma made it to India’s Asia Cup squad on the back of his strong performance against West Indies during the tour that ended this month.
Pakistan, India and Nepal are in Group A while Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The tournament will follow a hybrid model with Pakistan hosting four matches across two venues and Sri Lanka hosting the remaining games.
The six group-stage matches will be followed by the Super Fours, beginning September 6.
The final will be played by the top two teams at the end of the Super Fours on September 17 in Colombo.
(With ANI Inputs)