IPL 2023: Rohit led from the front in terms of driving the way we wanted to play, says Mark Boucher

Ahmedabad, May 27 (IANS) Mumbai Indians head coach Mark Boucher threw all of his weight behind skipper Rohit Sharma in terms of his lean batting form in IPL 2023, saying the right-handed opener was leading the initiative of batting in the ultra-attacking way they wished for in the competition.

Rohit made only 332 runs in 16 innings of IPL 2023 with just two fifties at a strike rate of 132.80. On Friday, in the Qualifier 2 clash against Gujarat Titans, he could make only eight runs as Mumbai, despite Tilak Varma’s attacking 14-ball 43 and Suryakumar Yadav’s quick 61, were bowled out for 171 in 18.2 overs, crashing out of the competition.

“Rohit is a quality player. What I do think is that he led from the front in regards to driving toward the sort of way we wanted to play. Our batting this season was fantastic. We went out at the beginning of the season and we looked at our stats and thought we could improve in certain phases of the game. And the captain is the best person to go out there and drive that vision as well.”

“So if you look at how we did in the powerplays compared to last season, from 7 to 10, you know we really upped the scoring rates and we played a good positive brand of cricket, which will stand us in good stead because the guys will gain a lot of confidence from that. Unfortunately, T20 game is tough at times and we were outplayed. Gill played a fantastic innings, and unfortunately, we couldn’t execute through the night, which happens in T20 cricket,” said Boucher in the post-match press conference.

Boucher also expressed happiness with impressive form of young batters like Varma and Nehal Wadhera in the tournament. “With the batting, Nehal been a great find, Tilak’s been a great find. They’ve had some influential innings through the season. On paper and form-wise, our batting looks really strong. The guys are beginning to understand their roles within the team, so I’m very happy with the batting.”

Boucher also offered an explanation over why Dewald Brevis didn’t get an opportunity to feature for Mumbai in the entire season, after having impressed the onlookers in a few matches last year.

“We want continuity in the team. I feel for Dewald. He hasn’t played a game, but there are a lot of other international cricketers who have been sitting on the sidelines as well. Dewald is young. He’s going to have plenty of opportunities. We went with continuity within the side. There was no reason to try and change a team that has just won two back-to-back games under pressure. So no, I don’t think it was the right call to make.”

Boucher also pointed out about the challenges Mumbai’s bowlers had to face in the absence of star pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer and Jhye Richardson. “About our bowlers, I think you need to look at it from a different perspective and I think if you have a look at the totals that were scored at Wankhede and chased down.”

“Sometimes you can look at the figures and you can say our bowlers were going for a lot of runs and yes, there were certain departments or certain games where we could have bowled a little bit better. We have got quite an inexperienced bowling line-up.”

“But we had some good chats and I think we improved as the competition went along, but to look at it because we went for over 200, we also chased a lot of scores over 200. But anyways, anyone who comes to Wankhede will know it is very much a batting-friendly pitch and ground.”

“I feel sorry for the bowlers at times. You know, going for scores over 200 can dent your confidence a bit, which probably did to a couple of our bowlers. But yeah, we were chasing scores down of 200+ so you just have to look at it in a different context,” he concluded.

–IANS

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