The cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said that Team India captain Rohit Sharma missed the trick by introducing spin late on Day 1 of the first Test against England in Hyderabad on Thursday. Manjrekar also added how England openers hit crucial runs before they were tested with spin bowling. He again stated that Ben Stokes made a similar mistake by handing the ball to an inexperienced Tom Hartley before Jack Leach and Joe Root.
Claiming that both Sharma and Stokes were not ruthless with their captaincy at times on Day 1, Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo: “I like to see ruthless captaincy, and Rohit Sharma bowling eight overs of seam and 41 runs on the board before the first ball of spin was bowled wasn’t ruthless captaincy. In the same way, Ben Stokes giving the ball to somebody like Tom Hartley. If you had to go with spin with Yashasvi Jaiswal there as a danger player, he could have started off with Jack Leach, the more experienced spinner, and somebody like Joe Root.”
However, Rohit Sharma threw away his wicket after having a good start, getting out after scoring 24 runs off 27 deliveries. Manjrekar said that batters like Sharma can afford to trust their defence, instead of depending on just his attacking game. While Rohit Sharma failed to do well, his opening partner, Yashasvi Jaiswal, remained unbeaten on 76 on Day 1. He helped the team finish at 119/1 at stumps on Day 1, still trailing England’s 246-run total by 127 runs as well.
He stated, “He will be very disappointed. I made the same observation that I did with Joe Root. Guys like Joe Root and Rohit Sharma, who are not insecure in defence in these kind of conditions, they can afford to not be that aggressive because when you’re looking to hit the ball in the air, there is an element of risk, which is understandable for somebody who doesn’t have the confidence to survive just by defending.”
Meanwhile, Sanjay Manjrekar was quite impressed by England’s batting performance in the first innings of the Hyderabad Test. He shared how the visitors managed to post a decent total despite senior batter Joe Root failing to score big as well. Ben Stokes played a captain’s knock with 70 runs in 88 balls before getting out to Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah.
“The way England batted and the score that they put up—now Yashasvi Jaiswal has made that score, at the moment, look inadequate. But a team batting first on a pitch like this and considering that people like Joe Root failed, that they reached 246, was I thought was a very, very good effort. I’m impressed and excited with the possibilities after seeing this performance from England,” Sanjay Manjrekar concluded.