Former India captain Sourav Ganguly praised Team India vice-captain Rohit Sharma for his top knock against South Africa at The Rose Bowl on Wednesday which helped India kick-start their 2019 World Cup campaign with a convincing victory.
Rohit curbed his natural flair for the greater good as his gritty hundred complemented a superb bowling effort in India's resounding six-wicket win over a hapless South Africa.
It was an uncharacteristic 23rd ODI hundred for Rohit (122 no off 144 balls) in a successful chase of 228 in conditions that were not exactly conducive for free-flowing strokeplay.
"If you watch the wagon wheel of Rohit Sharma's first half of the innings and the other, you will see the maturity he displayed. Rohit didn't play any shot on the front foot against Kagiso Rabada, he avoided cover drive in the first half of the innings. He scored most of his runs from the back-foot against the Proteas pacers be it Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris or Andile Phehlukwayo. 227 was not a low total at the Southampton, the only problem South Africa had was the inclusion of two spinners in the playing XI," Ganguly, who is IndiaTV's Cricket Expert, opined.
"While the Proteas pacers performed well with the ball and Rohit Sharma handled them with maturity as he played most of his shots from the back-foot. After that, he attacked the spinners (Imran Tahir and Tabrez Shamsi) from the front foot with some beautiful cover drives which made his wagon wheel very balanced. Virat Kohli also knicked the ball which was out of his reach while Dhawan also out tentatively edging the ball. But Rohit Sharma was solid throughout the innings," he added.
Ganguly also said that Rohit's century is a good sign for Team India and that it will set the tempo for the team going forward.
"Rohit's century is a very good sign for the Indian team as the other players like Shikhar Dhawan will look up to him and will get back to form soon. Rohit innings will set up the tempo for the Indian team in upcoming matches and the Men in Blue need the top-5 to score tons in big matches," he said.
Speaking on Virat Kohli, who got dismissed on 18, Ganguly said it was one odd innings from the Indian skipper and that there's nothing to worry.
"It was a one odd innings from Virat Kohli, he will definitely score big runs in the upcoming matches. Virat does struggle outside off stump but he has scored more than 10000 runs in ODI cricket. Every player need some time to settle Virat is a very big player and we shouldn't discuss more on his dismissal. Bowlers will bowl him outside off and he knows that. He has scored a lot of runs and it's not like he has played all the deliveries on pads," Ganguly said.