• Sharma prioritises performance over learning

    Vice-captain Rohit Sharma has restated his confidence in India’s lower order, particularly in all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, for the remainder of India’s ongoing ODI series against Australia.

    India lost the series opener in Sydney on Saturday when Sharma struck a superb century in an unsuccessful pursuit of a challenging 289-run target.

    Selected ahead of a specialist batsman or bowler, Jadeja perished for eight from 13 deliveries.

    ‘I think it was a good learning, but we’ve said that enough about learning now, it’s time to go and execute – take the pressure, absorb the pressure. International cricket is all about absorbing pressure, this was the perfect example, we were put under pressure and not able to absorb it,’ said Sharma.

    ‘We believe in Jadeja to play those cameo innings when required, but the asking rate was way too much when he came to bat. For any batsman to just start playing shots is not that easy, so I don’t think it’s a worry, but it’s an eye-opener. Sometimes there will be times where numbers six, seven and eight need to score those crucial runs, but we totally believe in Jadeja to do that.’

    Wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s patient half-century impressed the vice-captain, particularly after opener Shikhar Dhawan and middle-order kingpin Ambati Rayudu perished for ducks – and captain Virat Kohli scored just three.

    ‘When he came out to bat, we’d already lost three wickets, the guys were bowling pretty well and we had to respect that spell. We took a little bit of time, even myself, I took some time and didn’t score as quickly as I normally do,’ added Sharma.

    ‘At that point losing another wicket, the game would have been dead, so we wanted to make sure we take the game forward so we had to play dot balls. It’s a good sign for us that Dhoni showed he can come out and bat whenever the team wants him to bat.’

    Photo: Getty

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