Former India opener, Aakash Chopra feels that the Indian team missed Rohit Sharma a lot in the two big run-chases against Australia in the ongoing ODI series.
In the run chase, India barely looked to scale the target, as the wickets kept falling at regular intervals. India’s openers, Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan, got aggressive starts in both the games but were unable to convert it into a big three-figure score.
Two of the top three need to fire in a big run chase: Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra has opined that a team can only chase massive totals if the top three fire. If at least two of the top three don’t score big, then it is almost impossible to chase down targets over 350. The former opener believes that one of them needs to score a century and carry on, while the other should score an attacking 70-80. Otherwise, it is improbable to think of finishing the chase.
In his YouTube video, Aakash Chopra said, “Such a huge run chase can only happen from the top and not from the backend of the innings. It is not possible to actually win this game when you are hoping that you will win this game even after losing three wickets at the top.
“Such a thing is definitely not going to happen. Two of the top three need to fire and firing means that one of them scores almost a century or more than that and the other scores a quickfire 70-80. If either of them does not happen, then you cannot win the match.”
The 43-year-old also feels that India heavily missed Rohit Sharma at the top, especially in the two colossal run-chases. He thinks that other batsman could play in a bolder fashion knowing that Rohit is solid at the other end as the right-hander has the capability to score not just hundreds, but ‘Daddy’ hundreds, – even double hundreds – and stay at the crease to take the game deep keeping India in the contest.
The numbers do back Chopra’s claim; since Rohit started opening for India in Champions Trophy 2013, in successful ODI run-chases, he averages 69 with 10 hundreds. Hence, Aakash Chopra feels that Rohit is a key block missing from the Indian batting.
In the 2013 home series against the same opposition, India sized down targets of 360 and 351. However, the top three – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli – all made big runs in both games; Kohli recorded hundreds in both run chases, while Dhawan and Rohit, a century and a fifty each.
“The Indian batting lineup left a lot to be desired in a sense that there were too many runs on the board. If Rohit Sharma had been there, we would have played in a bolder fashion but if he is not there, then there is a loss. If you need to score more than 350, then you need Rohit Sharma, especially in a run chase,” Aakash Chopra added.
India will take on Australia in the third ODI on Wednesday in Canberra.