Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with 55 off 49 balls in Sunday’s Asia Cup final but his traditional approach didn’t seem suitable for the chase, as Sri Lanka coasted to a 23-run win to claim their sixth title. Rizwan’s sluggish knock drew criticism from pundits and fans despite the stumper finishing as the leading run-getter of the competition with 281 runs from six matches. Babar Azam, on the other hand, managed just 68 runs at the event and his wretched run would be a concern before next month’s World T20 in Australia.
At present, Rizwan and Babar may have secured the top two positions in ICC Men’s T20I Batting Rankings, but former skipper Salman Butt refused to compare the duo with India’s Rohit Sharma. There are few better sights in the game than watching a free-flowing Rohit in his element. Be his effortless sixes or impeccable timing, it’s a treat to watch him bat in any format.
Butt lavished huge praise on Rohit and said he would be on par with South African great AB de Villiers if his fitness were half as good as Virat Kohli – arguably one of the fittest players in world cricket.
“Unka (Rohit) comparison nahi banta (with Babar and Rizwan). With his set of skills, Rohit ki fitness Kohli se aadhi bhi ho, toh usse zyada destructive player nahi hai. Fir uska aur sirf AB de Villiers ka match reh jaata hai, beechme koi player nahi aata. Agar woh (Rohit) bohot fit hotey Kohli ki tarah toh pata nahi woh kya kartey. (Rohit can’t be compared with Babar and Rizwan. With his set of skills, Rohit would be the most destructive player if his fitness levels were half as good as Kohli’s. Only AB de Villiers comes close to him)” said Butt on his YouTube channel.
Despite India’s early exit from the Asia Cup, Rohit asserted that there is nothing wrong with the team or the way they are playing currently. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong, it looks like it from the outside, but we don’t look at it that way,” Rohit repeated what his predecessor Kohli would oft repeat at press conferences.
“I’ve been at many press conferences, and when you lose such questions will be asked. It’s normal. But as far as the team is concerned you can go in [the dressing room] and see, all the boys are relaxed and chilled. We need to have such an atmosphere whether you win or lose.”
Rohit will be captaining the team in the upcoming World T20, where India begin their campaign with an October 23 blockbuster against arch-rivals Pakistan in Melbourne. The BCCI on Monday named a 15-member squad as it welcomed Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel into the T20 set-up. The fast bowling duo missed the Asia Cup competition with injuries.
Before the T20 showpiece event, the Rohit-led unit plays limited-overs internationals against Australia and South Africa.
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