“If Hardik Pandya Was There, KL Rahul Would’ve…”

Former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram made a bold claim after India’s loss in the final of the ICC World Cup 2023. He highlighted that batters didn’t play fearlessly before adding that the middle order should’ve played with a ‘do or die’ mindset.

India didn’t have a great outing with the bat in the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 against Australia. The Men in Blue were bundled out for just 240 runs and it’s fair to say that they couldn’t get going at all on the pitch, where the ball came quite slow.

Skipper Rohit Sharma (47) gave a blistering start to the team as he took the attack to the bowlers and took his team off the flier. But after his wickets runs dried up and batters couldn’t score runs freely. Virat Kohli (51) and KL Rahul (66) tried to get going but they didn’t take the risk and the boundary was struck after 97 balls.

Wasim Akram said that although KL Rahul had a valid reason to not go after bowlers, he should’ve played freely. He highlighted that if Hardik Pandya had been there, the keeper-batter would’ve played aggressively. Speaking to Star Sports, he explained:

“If I have to pick any particular reason, I suppose the middle order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset.I can understand what was going through Rahul’s mind, that there was no batting to come after Jadeja and that he had to bat deep, and batting deep meant he couldn’t take risks of getting out. If possibly Hardik was in the team, he (Rahul) probably would take that risk.”

He’s played like that in the entire World Cup – Wasim Akram on Rohit Sharma

India captain Rohit Sharma was criticized by few for his ultra-aggressive approach in the final. The Indian skipper got out in the 10th over as he tried to take on Glenn Maxwell despite scoring 10 runs in the over earlier.

Wasim Akram highlighted that nobody complained when Rohit Sharma played with the same intent throughout the tournament and added that people are finding a reason to complain. Talking about the Indian skipper’s wicket, he explained:

“He’s played like that in the entire World Cup, that’s his game. Nobody complained throughout the World Cup with the starts he’s giving, or that he was constantly getting out in the 40s, and now that he’s done the same in the finals, people are finding a reason to complain.”

“And, he’s also one of the best players of spin in the world, though he got out to Maxwell in that game, and credit to Maxwell and Cummins. But, that’s the nature of Rohit’s game, and I don’t think he should change it.”

Rohit Sharma finished ICC World Cup 2023 as the second-leading run-getter in the tournament. He scored 597 runs in 11 innings and was one of the main reasons why India reached the final of the tournament. His starts allowed other batters to take their time and bat freely.

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