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Captain No. 1: Rohit Sharma is making India look good in World Cup 2023

CWC 2023: Team India delighted with Rohit Sharma leading from the front. Rohit Sharma's captaincy has been top notch in three games so far.

CWC 2023: Rohit Sharma the Indian Cricket team Captain | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©criccrazyjohns_Twitter)
Rohit the captain, leading well so far India in CWC 2023 (Photo: ©criccrazyjohns/Twitter)

India are currently placed at the top of the points table in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, and a lot of credit for this goes to captain Rohit Sharma. He deserves all the accolades for leading from the front - both through his leadership and also his batting at the top. Rohit’s captaincy can majorly be divided into two parts.

Rohit Sharma, the bowler’s captain

Having faith in his bowlers, giving them the longer run

The World Cup 2023 match against Pakistan gave ample proof that Rohit has a lot of belief in his bowlers. A bad over or two does not prompt Rohit to make the bowling change. Instead he gives them the confidence to execute their plans and take wickets.

In the match against Pakistan, Siraj conceded three 4s to Imam-ul-Haq in his first over, as the bowler bowled full in the hope of getting some swing. Siraj conceded 22 runs in his first 3 overs, while on the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah had got his length right, conceding just 14 runs in 4 overs – including a maiden. Rohit didn’t take Siraj off the attack, and instead persisted with him, giving him the confidence to make amends. As is evident, Siraj repaid the faith, taking Imam-ul-Haq’s wicket on the last ball of his fourth over.

Subtle and smart bowling changes

Taking India vs Pakistan match as an example, it can be easily concluded that Rohit’s bowling changes have been spot on. He does not follow any set patterns and instead goes by his guts when making the bowling changes.

During the Pakistan innings, when Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja had kept their run-rate in check, Rohit brought Siraj back in the attack to break the threatening stand between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. Siraj, despite being hit for a couple of fours in the previous over, disturbed the stumps of Azam to bring India back into the game.

Rohit could have also brought in Jasprit Bumrah at that time to put pressure on Pakistan, but he persisted with Kuldeep as a new batter was in the middle. It was Kuldeep’s seventh straight over, and the move paid off with the wrist-spinner bagging two wickets in that over.

After Siraj broke the partnership between Rizwan and Azam, Rohit didn’t loosen the grip on the Pakistan side. He kept attacking with a positive mindset, and the bowlers did the job, bowling out the opponents for 191 from 155/2. There was no fightback from the opponent’s lower-order as India had faced in the past, thanks to Rohit’s persistent attacking mindset which was also showcased by the bowlers.

Rohit is involved as a bowler’s captain

It is noticed that Rohit Sharma is constantly seeking advice from his predecessor Virat Kohli regarding bowling changes or field placements. He is regularly seen speaking with Kohli during or between overs.

The partnership between the two is paying off as India bowlers have managed to bowl out the opponents twice in three games in the World Cup. He is also speaking to the bowlers, giving them tactical inputs whenever necessary. The vast improvement in length by Siraj in the match against Pakistan from his first couple of overs to subsequent overs is a case in point. It implies Rohit’s complete control when his team comes out to bowl.

CWC 2023, India vs Pakistan_ Rohit Sharma scored 86 off 63 against Pakistan; IND beat PAK _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rohit Sharma scored 86 off 63 against Pakistan (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Rohit, the batting-captain

In the last two games against Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rohit came out all guns blazing right from the first ball. This gives a clear message to his teammates about his aggressive batting, and the mindset to bat the opposition out of the game. He is leading from the front with the bat, getting quick starts for his team, and setting a platform so that the batters to follow can find it easy to finish off the game.

The Rohit of past has had a different ODI innings strategy, taking his time to settle down, scoring at less than 100 strike rate, before exploding later to make up for it.

But Rohit, the batting captain now, is being selfless here, putting the team’s interest ahead. He looks to score quick runs, taking far more risks than he usually did before, to set the perfect platform for the middle-order.

It does not matter if India are batting first or second, Rohit has taken the onus on himself to give India the perfect quick start. This attitude is rubbing off on his teammates as they too look eager to score briskly and finish off things faster, with the intent to improve the net run-rate as this might turn out to be the deciding factor for the top four berth in the World Cup points table.


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