Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar reckons that Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Rohit Sharma is an underrated captain and doesn't get as much credit as his Chennai Super Kings (CSK) counterpart MS Dhoni.
Both Rohit and Dhoni led their teams to victory in their respective playoffs encounters in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. While CSK booked their place in the final by getting the better of Gujarat Titans (GT) in Qualifier 1, MI beat Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Eliminator and will face GT in Qualifier 2 on Friday, May 26.
On the eve of the GT-MI clash, Gavaskar praised Rohit's captaincy in the knockout match against LSG.
Referring to how he combined with Akash Madhwal to plot the dismissals of Ayush Badoni and Nicholas Pooran off consecutive deliveries, the Indian legend told India Today:
"Of course, he is underrated. The man has won 5 titles for Mumbai Indians. Let me give you an example. Madhwal got Ayush Badoni, bowling over the wicket. He then went round the wicket to the left-hander Nicholas Pooran.
"Not a lot of bowlers necessarily do that because if they get their rhythm going bowling over the wicket, they will stick to over the wicket even it's a left-hander, trying to leave the left-hander. But he went around the wicket and produced an absolute gem of a delivery and got the man out.”
Gavaskar went on to add that the praise levels would have been on a completely different level had Dhoni done something similar.
"If that had been CSK and Dhoni was the captain, everybody would have said, Dhoni plotted Nicholas Pooran's dismissal. This is what happens to a great extent. There is also a little bit of hype, things sometimes work out.”
Madhwal, who claimed superb figures of 5/5 in the Eliminator against LSG, cleaned up Badoni, who missed his slog. Next ball, he went round the wicket and induced an edge off Pooran’s bat.
“Rohit used Nehwal when MI were batting first against LSG” - Gavaskar
Gavaskar also praised Rohit for using a batter, Nehal Wadhera, as an Impact Substitute in spite of the fact that MI were batting first in the Eliminator.
Pointing out that teams prefer using a bowler as an Impact Player in the first innings, he said:
"What I am saying is Rohit Sharma did not get the credit for telling Madhwal to bowl round the wicket. The captaincy situation as well. Remember, Nehal Wadhera was used as an impact player batting first. Teams generally don't use batters as Impact Player when they are batting first. But Rohit used Nehwal when MI were batting first against LSG. So please give him credit for that as well."
Wadhera scored a handy 23 off 12 balls to give Mumbai Indians the much-needed push at the death. They ended up scoring 182/8 and then cleaned up LSG for 101.
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