Former India spinner Anil Kumble said that Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill were a lot more positive in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 match against Pakistan on Sunday as compared to their approach in the group game as well. However, Rohit and Gill featured in a 121-run stand for the first wicket at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday. While Rohit scored 56 off 49 balls, Gill hit 58 off 52 deliveries as well.
During a discussion on ESPNcricinfo, Kumble said, “Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill took the attack to the Pakistan team. That’s something that was very positive. KL Rahul also played only 20-odd balls, but batted well. These are definite positives. If there is a full game on Monday, India will hope that Virat Kohli and Rahul build a good partnership and then [Jasprit] Bumrah comes and works his magic. In the previous match against Pakistan, the openers were thinking too much as to which ball is coming in and which is going out. This time, both openers looked to dominate and Gill started really well. He even stepped out to hit Shaheen Afridi.”
While Rohit Sharma struck six fours and four sixes in his fifty, Gill smashed 10 fours in his stunning knock. According to Kumble, the success of the Rohit-Gill opening pair will be helpful for Team India keeping the upcoming ODI World Cup in mind, which will be played in India as well.
He again said: “This [Rohit-Gill partnership] augurs well keeping the World Cup in mind as well. The wickets in India will be good for batting and it will be important to take advantage of the first 10 overs.”
Meanwhile, Anil Kumble has also advised Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to approach proceedings on the reserve day as if they are playing a 25-over game as well. However, India were 147/2 in 24.1 overs when play halted on Sunday due to rain and the match will resume on Monday (reserve day) from where it stopped on Sunday as well.
“Both KL Rahul and Virat Kohli are experienced. They will resume from where they left off. If you approach it as a 25-over match, then your intent will be different. Rain can come anytime and it can become a 35 or 40 overs game. You need to be aware that the game can stop anytime. You need to play with that intensity. You need to maximize the remaining overs. I am sure Virat, KL and Hardik [Pandya] will be the key for the remainder of the game. The intent was really good. Gill has scored back-to-back half-centuries, so that should give him a lot of confidence going into the rest of the Asia Cup and the World Cup,” Anil Kumble concluded.