Mohit Sharma, who was not even in the original squad of 15 named for the 2015 World Cup, symbolises the stunning turnaround in the fortunes of the Indian team.
Fans are flummoxed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men’s victorious run after nearly three months without a win in Australia. But after defeating Pakistan, India have looked unbeatable.
The famed Indian batting lineup has had very little to do in the four wins so far. It’s surprisingly been the bowling, led by paceman Mohammad Shami and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, and fielding that has given them a massive edge.
In a tournament which has already seen three scores of 400-plus, India’s highest total has been the 307-7 against South Africa. Only UAE and Afghanistan have not scored more than India’s best. But then, they are only one of two teams that have managed to take all 10 opposition wickets in all matches.
While India did drop a few catches against West Indies, their ground fielding has been a revelation. And Sharma, who replaced an injured Ishant Sharma, has been outstanding in both the areas.
Mohit Sharma doing exactly what munaf did in 2011. Bowling 1st change, stump to stump. Nothing fancy. Plus absolutely brilliant outfielder
— Vikrant (@vikrant16) March 6, 2015
In four matches, Sharma has taken six wickets and bowled with a miserly economy rate of 3.90 per over. His tumbling effort to stop an AB de Villiers shot and the quick get-up and throw that affected the South African captain’s run out in Melbourne, has also been the highlight of India’s effort in the outfield.
“As a bowling unit we have performed well – all five of us (himself, Shami, Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja). But then we believe there is no limit of doing well,” Sharma said.
“I think there are a lot more things we can do. We haven’t rea-lly been tested properly in the slog overs. So, I think there is a lot more we can do.
“It helps me a lot that Shami and Umesh are bowling so well and creating the pressure at the top. Because when I get the ball, I know I don’t have to do anything different.
“I just have to do what I have been doing for the past 10-12 years – bowl at the right line and length and according to the state of pitch.”
As for the fielding, Sharma and the rest of the team owe it to the systems put in by new fielding coach Ramakrishna Sridhar. Dhoni was quick to point out how the fielders have reduced the pressure on him.
“We can add minimum 10 to 15 runs to whatever we score with the fielders that we have got,” he added. “I don’t always have to think about which player needs to go where. That eases the pressure off me.”
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