Colombo: Skipper Rohit Sharma praised his fast bowling group after their near-perfect day in the Asia Cup final triumph over Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Mohammed Siraj was in some form on Sunday as he ripped through Sri Lanka’s top-order like hot knife through butter with a five-wicket haul coming off just 16 balls.
Pumped up the opening spell, Siraj wanted to keep going. After seven unbroken overs on the trot, the skipper eventually took him off the attack against his wishes, an ICC report said.
“He bowled seven overs in that spell, and I got a message from the trainer that we have to stop him now. He was quite desperate to bowl,” Rohit Sharma said at the post-match press conference.
“He bowled seven overs, which is a lot. Siraj was in a similar situation against Sri Lanka in Trivandrum, and he had bowled some 8-9 overs on the trot,” Rohit said.
“It was very pleasing to watch from the slips (how Siraj bowled). He got the ball to move a bit more than the other two. We were riding behind him (Siraj) when he was bowling that spell,” the skipper added.
While Siraj was the one who stole the limelight, it was Jasprit Bumrah who set the ball rolling with a wicket in the opening over and Hardik Pandya, who brought an early end to Sri Lanka’s innings with three wickets in 14 balls.
Heaping praise on the outstanding day the pacers enjoyed, Rohit stated that he took a lot of satisfaction from the good performances of the quicks.
“I get a lot of satisfaction when I see fast bowlers perform like this. All the captains take a lot of pride in fast bowling (at their disposal), and I am no different. We have got a fantastic set of fast bowlers,” he said.
“All of them have different skill sets and variations – one can bowl quick, one can swing the ball, one can get good bounce. When you get all of these aspects in one team, it is a feel-good factor,” Rohit said.
Though it was the pacers who remained in the headlines on the day of the final, Kuldeep Yadav, who ended the tournament with nine wickets at an average of 11.44 walked away with the Player of the Tournament award.
The wrist spinner, who will lead India’s spin department at the World Cup next month, also came in for special praise from the captain for his remarkable turnaround in form in recent times.
“Kuldeep has done very well under pressure,” Rohit said. “He bowled well against Sri Lanka in the Super 4 match and we won that despite posting a small total.”
“His confidence has been going up over the last two years or so. He drags the team back into the match from any situation,” Rohit added.
India now head into a three-match bilateral series at home against Australia ahead of the World Cup and have a rare chance to go on top of the ICC Men’s Team Rankings across all three formats if they seal a series victory there.