Irfan Pathan has said that Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill could have a tough task contending the New Zealand pacers with the new ball in the WTC final.
Team India face New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton from June 18. The Black Caps have a potent seam-bowling attack, with the likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult leading from the front.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan picked Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill as his preferred openers for Team India. But he added that the duo might not find it easy, especially against Boult and Southee, saying:
“I will definitely back Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, but they will have a lot of difficulties because of the bowling in front of them; one gets the ball in, and the other takes it away. Both of them will try to pitch the ball up, and there the two openers have to manage.”
The former India all-rounder pointed out that Shubhman Gill’s excellent performances in his debut series against Australia should earn him a spot at the top of the order alongside Rohit Sharma. Pathan said in this regard:
“We are talking about Shubman Gill that his performance in the IPL were not that good, but that is a different format. He started off very well in the red-ball format in Australia. You don’t forget that so soon, and you go according to the format.”
Shubman Gill did not have a great time in the home series against England post his exploits in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, the stylish opener is likely to be persisted with, especially after showing form with an 85-run knock in the intra-squad warm-up game.
“Rohit Sharma has adapted very well as a Test opener” – Parthiv Patel
Parthiv Patel lauded Rohit Sharma for making adjustments to his technique to help him excel at the top of the order in the longest format of the game. He elaborated:
“He (Rohit) will try to be cautious in the first one hour. The sort of approach Rohit Sharma has shown as a Test opener, he is playing very tight, and we see proactiveness in his foot movement. So I feel he has adapted very well as a Test opener.”
The former India wicketkeeper also said that Rohit Sharma could play swashbuckling knocks once he gets his eye in. That was evident with his exploits in the 2019 ODI World Cup, although that was a different format.
“Once he gets set, we know he plays brilliant shots. It might have been the white-ball format when he scored the five hundreds in the 2019 World Cup, but that will be in his mind. So he will be thinking that he can play his shots once he survives the first one hour.”
Rohit Sharma was the highest run-getter in the 2019 World Cup, scoring 648 runs. That tally included a record five centuries, so he will hope to play a match-defining knock in the WTC final as well.