Exactly one year ago in Adelaide, Nasser Hussain observed England’s commanding 10-wicket triumph over India in the T20 World Cup semi-final. Following a comprehensive pursuit of 170 runs by Jason Roy and Jos Buttler, a disheartened Rohit Sharma struggled to contain his emotions in the dugout. However, something transformative took place within him that night. Rather than dwelling on the uncontrollable, he took it upon himself to initiate a change that has now propelled India into the final of the 2023 World Cup. Tired of the mundane and outdated batting approach of taking time to settle in before playing shots, Rohit chose to lead by example.
The result is an impressive total of 550 runs from 10 games at an average of 55. More significantly, Rohit’s strike rate of 124.15 is the highest among the top 10 leading run-scorers. While he may be ranked fifth behind the likes of Virat Kohli, Quinton de Kock, and the New Zealand duo of Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell, it is Rohit’s bold batting at the top that consistently sets the tone for India. In the semi-final against New Zealand, Rohit’s explosive 47 off 29 balls allowed Kohli, the anchor, to settle in before launching his own assault. This strategy has proven effective, and if Rohit can replicate it against Australia on Sunday, India’s chances of clinching the World Cup could significantly increase.
Rohit has received widespread praise from cricketing legends, including former England captain Hussain, who believes the Indian captain is the true hero behind their success for leading the necessary transition in this team of talented cricketers.
“We have DK with us. We were all there for that semi-final where they played meek, timid cricket, prodded along in the T20 World Cup semi-final, got a below-par score, and England knocked them off none down, won by 10 wickets. He said to DK ‘We’re going to have to change.’ It’s one thing saying that, and another thing walking the walk,” Hussain remarked after India’s 70-run victory over New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
New Zealand posed a genuine litmus test for Rohit and India, who had previously struggled against the BlackCaps in ICC knockout games. However, Rohit changed the narrative, leading India’s charge with another quickfire innings, including four boundaries and four sixes. Unfazed by the pressure of a semi-final, he adhered to his effective and fearless approach.
“The real hero today was Rohit. It’s the first time they have been tested. The group stage, as he will know, is one thing, but knockout games are all about can you do it again? Can you play fearless cricket? The skipper went out there and showed everyone in the dressing room ‘We’re going to carry on exactly the same way,'” Hussain added.