India vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI: Rohit Sharma’s BIGGEST challenge is to find form after return from injury, says Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan also spoke on Jasprit Bumrah’s return to the squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka and how vital he is to Team India.
Team India captain Rohit Sharma will be back in action as the home side get ready to take on Sri Lanka in the first game of three-match ODI series at Guwahati on Tuesday (January 10). Rohit has been sidelined after fracturing his finger in the second ODI against Bangladesh last month. He has subsequently missed the two-match Test series against Bangladesh followed by the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka last week.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan feels that the biggest challenge for Rohit Sharma will be to find form on his return from injury.
“Coming back from injury is never easy, and the biggest challenge would be for Rohit Sharma to come back into form. Which is important for a leader. Look, Rohit Sharma as a white ball cricketer for India has played tremendously well over the years and he has to continue this form and make his legacy even better. Fitness will be a challenge along with his return to form, but I have full confidence that he will be able to overcome these challenges fully,” Irfan Pathan said speaking exclusively on Star Sports show ‘Follow the Blues’.
#TeamIndia will have to overcome the challenge from the #SriLankan spinners in the ODIs!
Can Rohit, Hardik, and co. outplay the visitors?
Catch the Mastercard #INDvSL ODI series LIVE, Jan 10 onwards | 12.30 PM | only on the Star Sports Network & Disney+Hotstar pic.twitter.com/qigpPbkJCM — Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) January 4, 2023
Team India start their road to 50-over 2023 World Cup with a series of vital importance against Sri Lank at home. The series will provide the team management with some crucial information about how the squad will line up for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup later this year and will provide clarity on who will play the major roles in the team.
“It is important to win the series, whatever series we play. The bilateral series or if you play the home or away series, it is important to win your confidence as well. But the aim would be the 2023 World Cup which is happening in India this October. So keeping the World Cup in mind, we need to focus on the team combination and select the 11 players accordingly. I expect team India to field only those players these 20 matches who will be playing the 2023 World Cup so that everyone gets enough time to prepare themselves and this preparation for the World Cup starts with the India vs Sri Lanka series,” Pathan felt.
Irfan Pathan further spoke on who the openers should be for Team India in ODI’s, saying, “I really think right now you should keep at least three openers in place, and for me Rohit and Ishan comes first and then obviously Shubman Gill. Shubman Gill is definitely a class act, the two T20 matches did not go well but he has the ability in him and he has performed well at one day cricket. So, it's important to have him at number three, but I will start with Rohit and Ishan Kishan because Ishan Kishan has played some good cricket recently scoring a lot of runs.”
Irfan Pathan also spoke on Bumrah’s return to the squad and how vital he is to Team India, he said, “Look I’m very sceptical about Jasprit Bumrah’s come back, I’m hoping that he will not have an injury effect on his bowling. But I really hope that he is fully fit, more than 100% fit, which is what I want to look at because a player like Bumrah, is very important to the Indian team. For him to play consistently and remain fit is of utmost importance because to find a player of his quality is very rare, so to manage him and for him to manage his body and to keep his fitness levels on top as well as to keep his mind on recovering from his stress injury and go under rehabilitation, and to continue to grow and move forward as a cricketer is of vital importance not only to Bumrah but for the team management as well.”