A match’s fate can turn on a slender thread. When England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow were just about laying the building blocks of their 160-run partnership in the World Cup game against India at Birmingham on Sunday, the former edged Hardik Pandya to M.S. Dhoni.
It was the faintest of nicks. Hardik and Virat Kohli seemed keen to press for a review but the man, who caught, wasn’t sure. Kohli listened to Dhoni and did not seek a review. Later it came to light that the batsman had got a glove onto the ball. India played catch-up for the rest of the contest which it eventually lost.
Rohit Sharma, the team’s vice-captain and a centurion to boot, had his take on the issue: “It is a tricky thing. Some of the guys heard, some of the guys didn’t. There are a lot of thoughts that come around, some guys thought he (Roy) nicked it, some felt he didn’t. If you are lucky you have the decision going your way. The captain is always under the pressure. We as a team don’t want to look too much into it.”
The opener also explained the injury that ruled out Vijay Shankar on the morning of the contest: “There is no uncertainty with regard to the number four position, Vijay Shankar was supposed to play but before the game he got hit on the toe by Jasprit (Bumrah) and he wasn’t fit. Every team will have these one or two changes happening every now and then.”
Rohit had a humorous aside when asked about propping up Rishabh Pant at number four: “You guys wanted Pant to play right, asking where is Rishabh Pant? Where is Rishabh Pant? It was the right move for him to come at four. Of course there is pressure but he should enjoy his cricket.” And the hall erupted in laughter as correspondents were put on the defensive.
Queried about the way the match shaped up, Rohit credited England for being the better team: “We lost K.L. (Rahul) right at the start and they bowled well. It was important that the guy in form bats long and it was between me and Virat and we knew that the longer we bat, we will get closer to the target. When Mahi (Dhoni) and Kedar (Jadhav) were batting, they were trying to hit but they couldn’t as the pitch too slowed a bit. You got to give credit to the England bowlers, they mixed it up. You also need that X-factor innings, 70 off 40. Hardik was looking good but he couldn’t go on, that’s what Ben Stokes did for England. We know their top-order likes to put pressure and when Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal came on, they already had some runs and they didn’t let these guys settle and they had an off day.”
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