"Yeh uska stunt double hai.." - Shoaib Akhtar on Rohit Sharma's stance change to face Shaheen Afridi
Although the India-Pakistan group stage match at the 2023 Asia Cup did not reach its conclusion due to rain, it still offered valuable insights into the readiness of India's batting lineup. The Men in Blue demonstrated their ability to maintain their batting form throughout the innings despite early setback.
In the observations, one could not ignore the recurring issue of the top order collapsing against a formidable Pakistan pace attack, a pattern persisting into the third World Cup in as many years. Whether it was 31/3 in Dubai at the 2021 World Cup, 31/4 in Melbourne last year, or 66/4 in Pallekele just last week, the situations appeared eerily similar. Within this collapse was also the dismissal of Indian captain Rohit Sharma.
Rohit, who had managed to score a couple of boundaries off Shaheen Shah Afridi, was dismissed by the Pakistan left-arm quick in the fifth over. This same bowler had also outperformed the opener in their T20 World Cup face-off a couple of years prior. Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar posits that these two dismissals are not mere coincidence and that Afridi may have gained a psychological edge over the Indian skipper.
Rohit Sharma changed his stance to face Shaheen Afridi
“Yeh Rohit Sharma woh Rohit Sharma hai hi nahi. Yeh uska stunt double hai (This is not the same Rohit Sharma. This is his a stunt double),” Akhtar said during a virtual Star Sports presser.
“Shaheen has made his way into his mind. I have never seen Rohit change his stance, but what was happening there? He changed it, was beaten and bowled. Shaheen is subconsciously in his mind. This is what pressure of IND vs PAK match does to players,” he added.
Rohit Sharma, who typically aligns his front foot (left) with the leg stump, had positioned it wider away from the leg stump to face the left-arm pacer coming over the wicket. This is a technical adjustment right-handed batters make to avoid being obstructed in one eye and to gain a clearer view of the incoming delivery from a left-arm bowler.