Lavishing praise on Rohit Sharma, former India skipper and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar described the opener’s match-winning century on Sunday in the ICC Cricket World Cup high-octane clash against arch-rivals Pakistan as “out of the world”.
“He (Rohit) has matured. He is playing for years now and is an experienced player. And I think (he is) one of the best in the world. The innings which he played yesterday was outstanding and out of the world,” Vengsarkar told reporters here on Monday.
He was speaking after launching the ‘Indian Tennis Cricket League’ to be held in October at the D Y Patil stadium in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
Rohit produced a masterly century, scoring 140 off just 113 balls, to help India set Pakistan a stiff target of 337.
Pakistan crumbled in the face of the huge target and lost the rain-affected game at Old Trafford in Manchester by 89 runs through the D/L method.
Rohit opened the innings with his new partner K L Rahul, who made 57, in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, and the duo laid a solid foundation for the tall score.
“It was a high-pressure game. His (regular) opening partner (Dhawan) was injured and not there. The way he played himself in, he showed a lot of responsibility and played his shots and improvised later on. He is a world-class player, full stop,” the 116-Test veteran said about his fellow Mumbaikar.
Apart from the hundred yesterday, Rohit’s unbeaten 122 against South Africa also helped India start their World Cup campaign on a winning note.
Vengsarkar also lavished wholesome praise on the Indians for the way they approached the game in a positive manner from the beginning to put Pakistan under tremendous pressure.
“India-Pakistan match is a big game, a pressure game, but the way the Indians played from the beginning put Pakistan on the back foot throughout,” he said.
India are undefeated in the World Cup, having beaten South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, while their game against New Zealand was washed out due to rain.
While Vengsarkar said players like skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul being in good form augured well for the team going ahead in the competition, he was not yet convinced about the number 4 and five spots.
“No 4, 5 batsmen – I am still not convinced about it. But I hope Vijay Shankar plays well in the remaining games. I have not seen him play, so I can’t say anything on him. But I hope he does well. Kedar Jadhav was picked as well and I hope they (the selected batsmen) do well,” he said.
“Virat (Kohli), Rohit (Sharma), Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul – they are class players and are in great form as well and that augurs well for the Indian team,” he remarked.
The former cricketer dubbed England as one of the favourites, apart from Australia, India and the West Indies, while he picked New Zealand as the “dark horse”.
“England and India, at the moment, are doing extremely well – above all others. But you never know. India still have to play England and the West Indies. We have to wait and see, but India is doing extremely well,” he signed off.
India next play Afghanistan on June 22 at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.