World Cup semi-final: Rohit knows what to do against Boult, says Dilip Vengsarkar

Indian batting legend wants team to bat first should they win the toss

Indian cricket team (photo: @Shreyasiyer15/X)
Indian cricket team (photo: @Shreyasiyer15/X)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Dilip Vengsarkar has just two words of advice for Rohit Sharma & Co if they win the toss against New Zealand in the high octane World Cup semi-final tomorrow: bat first.

The former Indian batting legend and a member of Kapil Dev’s Class of 1983 is upbeat that the current team will be able to break the semi-final jinx in the 50-overs showpiece in the last two editions.

The last one at the Old Trafford, against the same opponents in 2019 at the back of a rousing campaign, still hurts them while they bowed out against eventual champions Australia in 2015.

‘’Well, that was four years ago and very much a part of history. Much like a batter tries to shake off the previous failure in a new innings, that result will have no bearing on tomorrow’s game. Given the kind of cricket these guys have played so far, I am very confident they should be able to end the jinx tomorrow,’’ said ‘The Colonel.’

Dilip Vengsarkar
Dilip Vengsarkar

Speaking to National Herald over phone, the Mumbaikar who knows a thing or two about the Wankhede wicket, said: ‘’My advice will be to keep things simple and opt to bat first. There is no better option than to put runs on the board in a big game like this - especially with your batters in such ominous form.’’

There is a noticeable degree of concern in the Indian camp, much as they don’t want to acknowledge it, about the problems that a seasoned left-arm paceman like Trent Boult can cause for the skipper with the delivery which comes in to the right hander.

The Indian top order had, according to reports, been honing their skills against their left-handed throwdown specialist Nuwan Seneviratne to counter the angular deliveries.

Vengsarkar was, however, dismissive about any such concerns. ‘’Leave it to Rohit, he knows what to do. He has tonnes of experience of playing against such bowlers and had been a prolific scorer in this format.

The way he has been giving India those flying starts in the powerplays have made the job easier for others barring the odd occasion - and I see no reason to let any bowler get on top of your head,’’ the master batter said.

Unlike the 2019 edition, the Indian top order also has a more settled look with K.L.Rahul reminding one of their head coach Rahul Dravid’s multi-tasking in the 2003 edition and Shreyas Iyer also shaking off any element of self doubt to look in good nick.

Asked if the middle order is more reassuring this time in case there is an early loss of wickets, Vengsarkar reminded: ‘’This team has already overcome a few tricky situations like this, be it the first game against Australia, the chase against Kiwis in the group game or putting up a fighting score on a slow wicket against England. The 9-0 scoreline is a result of that, something which no Indian team has done in a World Cup before.

‘’There is nothing new I want to add about the way the bowlers have performed, both in pace and spin departments. They have all the bases covered and the fans can count on them,’’ Vengsarkar rounded off.

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