Despite a heroic performance against Pakistan, the Indian top order experienced a disastrous collapse in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 match against Sri Lanka. Notably, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul, all of whom had scored more than 50 runs against Pakistan, were dismissed early in the match. Sri Lanka’s 20-year-old spinner, Dunith Wellalage, was the architect behind their downfall, claiming a remarkable 5-wicket haul in the game. While Wellalage’s performance was exceptional, former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir expressed his disappointment with the ‘soft dismissals’ of players like Kohli, Rohit, and Rahul.
During a discussion on Star Sports after the match, Gambhir highlighted a troubling ‘trend’ he had observed within the Indian team, particularly when facing spinners. He cited a previous match between India and Australia, where Indian batsmen struggled against spinners like Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, especially when the ball had grip and turn. Gambhir stressed that such conditions called for better adaptability from Indian batsmen. He pointed out that the pitch wasn’t one for scoring 350 runs but rather around 270. Therefore, if India found themselves at 160 or 170 for three wickets down after 40 overs, they needed to adjust their approach when the ball started to grip. Gambhir criticized the soft dismissals of Kohli and KL Rahul while acknowledging that the others were troubled by deliveries on the front foot. He emphasized the importance of playing certain deliveries on the backfoot to enhance their defensive capabilities.
Delving into the technical aspects of batting, Gambhir explained why it’s crucial to play certain deliveries off the backfoot rather than the front foot to be more effective in defense. He discussed how the angle of the delivery and its point of release from the bowler could affect a batsman’s ability to handle spin. He offered insights into how playing certain deliveries on the front foot exposes both edges of the bat, increasing the chances of an outside edge. Gambhir provided specific examples, such as Gill’s dismissal, to illustrate his point. Overall, he urged Indian batsmen to adapt their techniques and improve their defensive skills, particularly against spinners, to avoid recurring collapses like the one witnessed against Sri Lanka.