Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha heaped praises on skipper Rohit Sharma for making things comfortable for Shikhar Dhawan in the first ODI against England at Kennington Oval. Chasing the 111-run target, Rohit and Dhawan shared an unbeaten 114-run stand to help India register a 10-wicket victory as India take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. However, the partnership was dominated by the skipper who scored 76 runs off 58 balls.
Dhawan looked a bit rusty during his 31 runs off 54 balls, as he was making his comeback to India’s white-ball squad after missing out on the T20I series against South Africa, Ireland and England.
Ojha said that the Rohit gave Dhawan time to get settled in middle as the southpaw needed that on his comeback in the Indian colours.
“Rohit Sharma understood that Shikhar Dhawan was making a comeback of sorts (Dhawan only plays ODIs for India now). Dhawan needed some time and this was the perfect platform for him. There were not many runs to get and the full 50 overs to play. Rohit gave him time,” Ojha said on Cricbuzz.
“It was almost like match practice or match simulation for Dhawan. Rohit just did the job that was expected of him,” he added.
The duo shared the 100-run stand for the 18th time in ODI cricket. Rohit and Dhawan also went on to join one of the most iconic opening pair in world cricket as they crossed the 5,000-run mark in partnership in ODI cricket. They are now very close to the Indian opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who top the list of most number of runs scored by an opening pair in world cricket.
Ojha further heaped praises on the opening duo and they are highly valuable for the Indian team as they produced a solid show in tough conditions at the Oval.
“The Dhawan-Rohit pair is highly valuable. Even if we look at today’s partnership, the wicket wasn’t easy to bat on. The ball was seaming. The bowlers were bowling in the right areas. Dhawan was not in his normal flow, so Rohit took charge of scoring and allowed Dhawan to settle in,” he added.
Ojha feels that it might have been head coach Rahul Dravid’s plan to execute the chase with a calm approach
“Dravid, who is now the coach, may have told the same to the openers. It could be because of the advice to get some practice that the Indian openers did not look in any hurry and were taking their time,” he said.