Leeds, July 7: Former India cricketer Krishnamachari Srikanth has lauded India's openers who are in phenomenal form in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Opener Rohit Sharma - who slammed the fifth century in this edition to create a world record - has ensured the Men In Blue get four century-opening stands in the tournament.
While his partners have changed, first Shikhar Dhawan and later KL Rahul, Rohit has been the constant. Along with Rahul, the Mumbaikar has stitched three century stands and team hasn't missed Dhawan one bit after the left-handed batsman was ruled out.
Kris Srikanth, who opened the innings for India in the 1983 World Cup, said, "India are flying right now and in Rohit Sharma they have someone who has it all. Three centuries in a row, five in total in this ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, he is in incredible form.
"The opposition know that you either get him out before he gets to 10, or the next pit stop is probably 100. In the last three years of his career he has been outstandingly consistent in one-day cricket."
The former India chief selector praised Rohit - who scored 103 against Sri Lanka in India's last league match of the tournament - and his temperament.
"I think the most important thing about him is his temperament. He is so cool and calm and just never gets flustered. So many players start to panic if they don't get runs during the Powerplay, but Rohit doesn't. Even when he starts slowly, he is dangerous.
"He has this ability to just shift through the gears, from second, to fourth, to sixth, to eighth. By the time he gets to 120, he is in eighth gear. He has a fantastic striking ability and we saw that against Sri Lanka. But it is also important to remember that he does more than just strike the ball cleanly. Rohit can score this many centuries because he has rock solid defence.
"I think back to when he was still batting in the middle order, a game against South Africa when Dale Steyn had just taken two quick wickets. Rohit came in, played with a dead straight bat and built through his defence. You cannot score that many hundreds without a great defence, and Rohit has it.
Srikanth also praised Rahul for his brilliant effort at the top of the order and grabbing the opportunity with open hands.
"The good news for India is that it was not just Rohit who was great in the seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka, KL Rahul got in on the act as well. I am really pleased to see him get to a hundred because he has played very well up to now making 40s and then 77 last time against Bangladesh."
"He is another guy who is capable of scoring big hundreds, as we saw in the Test series last year in England. At The Oval he scored a magnificent 149 and almost saw India home in a massive chase. He can score big runs and we are going to hear a lot more about him in the future.
"This has been particularly impressive because Rahul found himself in a difficult position trying to replace Shikhar Dhawan. Firstly, it is a real challenge going from No.4 to opening, but he has made that transition seamlessly. But in addition to that, he had to step into the shoes of Dhawan, who had just scored a hundred against Australia.
"That was a lot of pressure, but he has batted really well and now done something on a par with Dhawan. KL Rahul can bat across all formats and score runs, and it is great for India that he is scoring runs including 111 against Sri Lanka.
The Tamil Nadu cricketer also praised speedster Jasprit Bumrah for the way he's leading India's pace battery.
"From a bowling perspective, it was all about Jasprit Bumrah again. He really is the leader of the Indian attack. He is the main weapon, he takes wickets, he can put on the brakes when the opposition are getting on top, he can do everything. We saw it against England when they were cutting loose, and against Sri Lanka again, when they were trying to attack."
He opined further, "Looking ahead to the semi-final, Bumrah is going to be a key man for Virat Kohli. India are lucky to have someone with the ability to take wickets with the new ball, come back later and break a partnership if needed, and then to restrict at the death."