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India need to pick up wickets upfront: Rohit Sharma

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Dhaka, June 20 (IANS) Ahead of their second One-Day International (ODI) here on Sunday against Bangladesh, Indian opener Rohit Sharma said the bowlers needed to make early inroads to give the visitors a much required momentum to win.

In the first game of the three-match series on Thursday, Bangladesh won by 79 runs after they had posted a formidable total of 307. The Indian bowlers failed to take early wickets as the openers put on 102 runs.

“Tactically what we would like to do differently is take wickets upfront, if you take early wickets it always builds pressure on the opposition. We didn’t do it in the last game and they got momentum early on. From there they played fearless cricket and kept going after our bowlers,” Rohit was quoted as saying by bcci.tv on Saturday.

“In the next game we need to pick early wickets irrespective of whether we bowl first or second. We need to get that momentum our way and we have guys who can do it. We have quality pacers and spinners and tomorrow will be their chance to do it,” he said.

Rohit also stressed that bowling a probing line and length would help the bowlers pick up wickets on batting-friendly pitches in Bangladesh. He also suggested that the bowlers needed to be aggressive.

“We have to mix and match. We can’t keep bowling the same length all the time. We have to be aggressive. And by aggressive, I mean we should not hesitate to bowl bouncers at them when required. We need to understand their batsmen’s weaknesses. We have played quite a bit against them and the bowlers have good understanding of that. We just need to exploit that,” Rohit said.

Rohit said the Indian batsmen also needed to maintain a balance between building partnerships and batting aggressively.

“As a batting unit we know it’s our responsibility to bat as long as we can. But the way cricket is played today, we have to be aggressive and try to take the game away from the opposition,” he said.

“And in doing so, we might get out. Cricket has gone to the next level. Having said that, it is very important to build partnerships, and it starts from the top order. Bangladesh did it well in the last game; they got a good opening partnership as well as in the middle order. That is the key.”

Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman varied his pace intelligently and capped his debut performance with a five-wicket haul on Thursday. Rohit said the Indian batsmen would have to employ a more effective strategy against him in the middle overs when the ball becomes older.

“As the ball gets older and the wicket gets slower, it gets harder to bat. And Mustafizur made the best out of it. He wasn’t getting that grip with the new ball that he did after the 20th over. We need to look on what shots we need to play once the wicket gets slower. And we need to be aggressive at the same time.”

The Indian opener said the team was not surprised by Bangladesh’s strategy to field four fast bowlers in the first match.

“We were not taken by surprise with their four seamers strategy. They played with three pacers in the World Cup and just added one more in the last game. The bottom line is that we didn’t bat well,” the Mumbaikar said.

“We need to be more aware of the situation and the conditions. We have enough experience in our dressing room to understand that and hopefully tomorrow we can change things around,” he concluded.

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