India, who had to wait for long to play their first game, outplayed South Africa by six wickets to begin their World Cup campaign on an emphatic note.
Southampton: India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday lauded Rohit Sharma’s match-wining hundred against South Africa in challenging conditions besides raving about his star pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
India, who had to wait for long to play their first game, outplayed South Africa by six wickets to begin their World Cup campaign on an emphatic note. “The wait was very long and then you get a game like this where it was challenging throughout. From our point of view it was important to start on the right note. We might not have had the run rate, but if you look at how the game went and how the pitch behaved, it was challenging,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation.
“Hats off to Rohit, his innings was special. And also the guys who batted around him. I would say it’s a professional win,” he added.
South Africa opted to bat after winning the toss but Kohli said he would have chosen to bowl first anyway. Bumrah provided the early breakthroughs again by removing openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla. “We were going to bowl first. They were coming off two losses, so you have to make sure you get the first 15 overs right. Jasprit is operating at a different level to be honest. The way he’s bowling, the batsmen feel the pressure all the time. Not the other way round. Chahal (four wickets) was outstanding as well,” Kohli said.
Kohli took a sharp catch on the bowling of Bumrah to dismiss de Kock. “There’s one thing to see a bowler bowl, but to catch that ball, to feel the heaviness of it. When I caught it, for 15 minutes my hands were buzzing. He’s not giving any freebies.
“With the new ball he was absolutely outstanding. Haven’t seen Amla get out like that in one-day cricket. Even Quinny, he rushed him for pace,” he said referring to de Kock’s dismissal.
“The first win is always important. On the field, we were confident as a group. With the bat, we had to work our way through because of the attack they have. That’s where Rohit’s innings was very very special. You need experienced guys to stand up. One of the top three getting a hundred is something we bank on. KL (Rahul) batted really well with him. Then MS (Dhoni) showed great composure. Hardik finished well too. He looks in a good headspace,” Kohli added.
Smells like Ja-spirit as quick gun goes bang-bang even at the nets
Jasprit Bumrah has been a nightmare for all international batsmen but India’s pace spearhead doesn’t feel that he has built some kind of reputation that he needs to live up to. With a simple six step run-up and with an unusually slinging action, Bumrah is skipper Virat Kohli’s ‘Man Friday’ in all formats but for the genial Punjabi from Gujarat, it is all about being a good student of the game.
“Most of the times, I don’t think about expectations. I just try to check what exactly does the team wants me to do. I don’t think that I have a reputation to live up to as I just need to keep things simple,” Bumrah, the world No.1 in ODIs, said after playing a pivotal role in India’s six-wicket victory.
“I always keep an eye on what is happening all over, so that maybe I can learn and add things to my armoury. There’s no harm in learning. For example, if you tell me there’s a perfect action in the world, I’ll try to copy that,” he said.
Bumrah bowled “hard, Test match lengths” to South African batsmen that worked for him, something that his skipper attributes to his success in the longest format.
For Bumrah, preparation is something which is non-negotiable and he executes a plan in a match situation only when he has successfully implemented it at the nets. “There is a lot of hard work that goes behind the cameras. I do all my sessions, be it bowl with a new ball or new variations before coming into the match. If I have prepared everything, then it’s about the execution, keeping a clear head space,” said the 25-year-old.
Bumrah’s style of doing homework is something that fascinates even skipper Kohli, who gave an example of how difficult it is to face him at the nets as he bowls with the same intensity which is on display in a match situation. “Well, one thing you know while facing Jasprit is that you have to play good cricketing shots and back your technique against him. Because if you are hesitant a little bit and he is able to sense that, then he is all over you. If he senses someone is not enjoying the short ball in the nets, he will make sure that guy gets it in that session,” Kohli gave an insight to Bumrah’s mind.
“So, what you see him bowling in the match, he bowls exactly like that to us in the nets. That’s the reason for his consistency. He doesn’t change his game because he’s in the nets compared to the game,” he said.