Before India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan, Rohit Sharma’s response to a question about confronting Pakistan’s in-form pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf was met with amusement.
Rohit stated, “We do not have Shaheen, Naseem, or Rauf in our nets.” “We practise with the available bowlers. All of them are quality bowlers, and they have been performing well as a team for quite some time.”
Due to the decision to play in pairs, Shubman Gill was the first to face Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami, while Rohit batted at the other end.
Gill hurriedly made his way to the enclosed netting behind the dressing rooms as soon as he was finished. Soon after, Rohit and Shreyas Iyer, who was the fourth player to participate in the open exercises, adopted the identical strategy.
Even as India’s throwdown specialists Nuwan Seneviratne (being the left-arm thrower, he played the role of Afridi) and Dayanand Garani (imitating Rauf) threw from a very high-arm action to keep the batters occupied, batting coach Vikram Rathour attempted to imitate Naseem by going wide of the crease and getting the ball to move in and jag away viciously with his throwdowns.
Even so, Gill observed a couple of balls on his bat before unleashing the cut and pull, as well as his signature short-arm strike.
In the meantime, Rohit employed a variety of strokes in the nets. Additionally, there were picture-perfect punches to the ground and drives through cover.
Sanjay Manjrekar, speaking on Match Day preview on the eve of India’s match against Pakistan, cautioned both Rohit and Gill.
“Rohit and Gill – more so Gill than Rohit – must be careful with their front foot, not coming too far across the line to allow [Afridi’s] late swing and speed to trap him in front,” he said.
Iyer, who was next in line in the batting cage, proceeded to assault the first ball he encountered by taking the ideal stride forward and smashing it through the cover.
The cut, straight drives, and swivel-pulls were all on display as India’s probable No. 4 returned from a lengthy back injury with excellent touch. However, Virat Kohli did not opt for the throwdowns.
All three of Afridi, Naseem, and Rauf were selected for Pakistan’s XI against India, which remained unaltered from the team that defeated Nepal in the opening match.
Both Naseem and Rauf have yet to play an ODI against India; Afridi made his ODI début against Afghanistan in the 2018 Asia Cup. However, they will be eager to make an impact against a prospective top four of Rohit, Gill, Kohli, and Iyer.