Ahead of the blockbuster match against India in the Asia Cup, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi has opened up on his plans to tackle openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Shaheen could prove to be a huge test for the Indian openers, who have looked vulnerable against left-arm pacers in recent times. Shaheen dismissed Rohit and KL Rahul during the T20 World Cup in 2021, and was also troubled the Indian openers during the T20 World Cup clash last year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
However, with Rahul out injured, Rohit will open the innings with Gill, who has established himself as an opener across formats.
Shaheen said he would look to put pressure on India’s middle-order by dismissing the openers early on with the new ball.
“In my opinion, my game plan is simple, every opener knows my game plan. The goal is to, as always, get the openers out to put pressure on the batting team. The middle order when they come in are not used to playing against the new ball as much as an opener. So there is a lot of pressure on the middle order to face the new ball,” Shaheen said during an interaction on Star Sports.
Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar has suggested that if the Indian top order consisting of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli gives Men in Blue a fine start and do not lose their wickets, it will be their match to win.
“See, fortunately for India, number one, two, and three, when Virat bats at number three, they are three very good test batters. And you might talk about 50 overs being a one-day match and white-ball cricket and all that, but the start of a 50 overs game is not like a T20 match. I think there are some serious test cricket skills needed, and then Rohit Sharma got these five hundreds in the last World Cup. I remember him respecting the bowling in the first 10 overs. And these three guys – Gill, Rohit Sharma, and Virat – who have excellent credentials as defensive test batters, that is the game they will have to bring. If they do not lose early wickets, then it is just their game,” Manjrekar said on Star Sports.
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