Rohit Sharma: India’s outstand-in skipper

Despite paying the price for Rishabh Pant’s poor Decision Review System (DRS) calls against Bangladesh on Sunday, India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma jumped in to defend the wicketkeeper saying it was too soon to judge him.

Amid thick smog and much controversy in New Delhi, India slumped to their first-ever T20I defeat to their neighbours at the Arun Jaitley Stadium as Mushfiqur Rahim’s unbeaten 60 led Bangladesh to successfully chase 149 for a memorable seven-wicket win.

Much of the criticism after the defeat fell on the 22-year-old wicketkeeper’s shoulders as he chose to not review a failed LBW appeal against Mushfiqur Rahim in the third ball of the tenth over, bowled by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

But, on the last ball of the over, his insistence made India lose a review, as Pant swayed Rohit to review a failed caught behind decision against Soumya Sarkar.

“Of course, Rishabh is young and he will need time to understand. It’s too soon to judge whether he can make those decisions. Plus, the bowlers as well. It’s a combination when the captain is not in the right position to make that decision,” said Rohit at the post-match press conference.

“When you are not in the right position (as a fielder), you have to trust your bowler and the wicketkeeper. Based on that, you have to make that decision, whichever format you play.”

He went ahead to claim that 148 was a defendable score had they been smart on the field, and rued the fact that he was dismissed in the very first over itself.

“148 was a good score. We would have defended it if we were smart on the field. A couple of decisions we did not get it right on the field and that went against us. That’s where we lacked in decision making,” he said.

“Whenever you lose a wicket in the first over, it’s not easy to build on that. The pitch was slightly soft, so shot-making was not that easy. We wanted something around 140-150, on batting first, that was the message.”

Although he defended his claim that the total wasn’t bad for them to defend, the 32-year-old did take time to laud Bangladesh’s winning mentality.

“It was a good fighting total but when you defend such total, you need to keep taking wickets but they had good partnerships and that was the turning point.”

Concluding the press conference, Sharma once again came in to back his players, especially left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed, who conceded four straight boundaries in the penultimate over.

“These are the guys, who did not play for a while in this format. They still need to understand when defending smaller targets, they need to bowl according to the plan. They will learn by playing these games. They have the talent and ability to bounce back but only time will tell if they can do that or not.”