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Rohit hails confident Arshdeep after social media backlash, backs under-fire Bhuvneshwar


India’s captain Rohit Sharma has praised Arshdeep Singh’s confidence and composure despite recent social media reactions following the India-Pakistan clash. Arshdeep had been tasked with bowling two of his four overs to death in both of India’s Super 4s games, and although India lost both, his yorkers and ability to hold their own in tight situations stood out.

The social media reaction that turned into a full-blown troll feast came in the wake of a missed opportunity at a pivotal moment when Pakistan needed 31 out of 16 balls and Arshdeep Asif Ali delayed the first ball by a short third. Asif would dent India by hitting 16 of eight balls before Iftikhar Ahmed sealed a dramatic final win.

“Honestly, guys don’t watch social media too much, there’s too much crap going on there,” Rohit said. “A few defeats here and there, a few games here and there, a drop catch…I don’t think we’re looking at it too much.

“Yeah, he was disappointed himself because it was a catch that could have been taken, but then again if you looked at his confidence in that final, he nailed that Yorker pretty well to get Asif Ali out. That shows if he’s down wash and out if you’re not there mentally the execution won’t happen But in his case he confidently came out to execute in fact he just ran into his place and took the ball because he wanted it to be over . thrown by him.”

On Tuesday, as it was against Pakistan, Arshdeep threw two of his four overs – the 17th and 20th – in the death. His last over, with Sri Lanka taking seven, was an especially excellent one. He delivered four pin-point yorkers going for three singles and a double, before Sri Lanka squeezed home courtesy of two byes – a miss by Rishabh Pant at the striker’s end and Arshdeep at the non-striker’s end.

Arshdeep has featured in 10 T20Is so far, taking 13 wickets with a 7.60 thrift. His ability to swing the new ball both ways and his yorkers at death were the standout factors that impressed the team management.

“Even today he bowled pretty well, those last two overs,” Rohit said. “He’s a guy with a lot of confidence, that’s why he’s here. He’s been on the team for a lot of guys sitting at home because he’s clear-headed, a boy with a lot of confidence. I haven’t seen many people like that in their early days playing for India. He is very confident and wants to do well. He is quite hungry for success for the team which is a good sign for me as captain Even Rahul [Dravid] bhai will tell you, we are very happy with how he picks up his game and how he approaches his game.”

Rohit also offered his support to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had two regular outings, especially in the death overs. In both matches, he bowled the penultimate over going for 19 (against Pakistan) and 14 (against Sri Lanka). His combined numbers in both games were 8-0-70-1. Rohit was adamant in his response that these things wouldn’t worry team management and that two bad days won’t undo years of good work in the eyes of team management.

“No yes“You don’t have to worry,” said Rohit. “You lose two games and then you don’t worry. We don’t talk like that in our dressing room. We won so many games after the [T20] World Cup [2021]. Experienced players get out, experienced players concede points, these are normal things. They happen. I don’t think we should worry about these things. Bhuvi has been playing for so many years, won games for us in death overs, so one or two games, we shouldn’t judge.”

Rohit also went out of his way to explain how, despite the nature of the losses, the bowlers were all in proper headspace, as opposed to the perception that they were “mentally deranged”.

“If you don’t get wickets up front, yes there’s pressure if you don’t have a 190-200 target. We’ve seen the wicket get better while chasing. We knew if we didn’t get wickets in the power play it would be difficult , but it seems that no bowler is down or mentally disturbed, all the boys are confident in their abilities.

“When you play that many games consistently, the execution [going off] sometimes happens. In our judgment, we are not saying that morale is low. There will be such competitions, it happens to everyone. I don’t think we look at it that way. All the guys are confident and have done well for us over the last six months.”

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo