If only. What if. And like that, there are several questions from India’s narrow five-run loss in the second ODI against Bangladesh at the Sher-E-Bangla stadium in Dhaka. But former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar posed a new question following India’s loss, why did Rohit Sharma not bat at No.7, if he was always going to bat.
Despite dislocating his left-thumb, Rohit walked out to bat in desperate time for the country, and his innings at No.9 perhaps will always be remembered. The Indian skipper took on the Bangladesh bowling unit, with a 28-ball 51, with three boundaries and five sixes, nearly taking India home.
"Everybody knows the quality and class of the man. And the thing now, when India came so close, is why did he not come in to bat earlier. If he was going to bat at No. 9, then he should have batted at No. 7," Gavaskar said on Sony Sports Network after Bangladesh clinched the series with a five-run win.
India were reduced to 65/4, before Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel combined to put on a match-threatening partnership, that nearly took India home. But once Iyer was out, all hopes were pinned against India. Axar too put on a show, with a 56-ball 56, yet again strengthening his credentials as an all-rounder in this Indian setup.
Gavaskar believes that had Axar known Rohit was about to bat, he would have timed his innings in a more succinct manner. Alongside that, he was adamant that India would have won the game had Rohit walked out to bat much earlier.
"What that could have done is, I think, Axar Patel would have played differently. Axar thought that maybe Rohit Sharma won’t bat, and therefore he played that shot. At that stage, there was no need to play that shot,” Gavaskar added.
“Axar was batting so well, he was picking the ball well, and had he continues, you never know, the outcome could have been different. At No. 9, he almost got India to a memorable win so had he come to bat at 7, India would have had a much better chance.”