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Move to send Rohit in the middle order tactical: Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene praised the character of the team to chase down an improbable target against KKR.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Former Sri Lanka cricketer Mahela Jayawardene, who now is the head coach of Mumbai Indians, revealed that Rohit Sharma’s move to the middle order was tactical more than anything else. Rohit batted at No. 3 and 4 in the first two games of the season.

Rohit usually opens the innings whenever he plays for India or Mumbai Indians. He batted at 4 in Mumbai Indians’ maiden win of the season last night. The skipper couldn’t contribute much to the team’s cause as he got a howler of a decision from the umpire.

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Speaking about Rohit’s new batting position Jayawardene said, “It’s just a decision that we took tactically. We can’t keep playing the patterns that we’ve played in the past as well. Teams tend to target Rohit, and put a lot of pressure on the other guys as well,” he told reporters at the Wankhede Stadium, after the match.

Interestingly, Rohit was a middle order batsman for the first half of his career till he tasted success as an opener in ODI cricket. Post that, Rohit has always opened even in franchise cricket.

The 29-year old is making a comeback from a long lay-off due to an injury and Jayawardene cited that to be one of the reasons for his demotion in the batting order.

“Rohit is coming back from an injury. We have to slowly get him involved,” said Jayawardena.

Jayawardene still hasn’t shut the door on Rohit opening this season but didn’t want to disclose much.

“You might be surprised. On some day he may open the batting as well,” he said. “But right now the guys are taking responsibilities in their roles. We just need to create that difference out there.”

Mumbai Indians, on the back of exceptional performances by two 23-year old, won a cliff-hanger last night as they beat KKR by 4 wickets in the final over of the game. Hardik Pandya, whose unbeaten 29 delivered the knock-out punch; and Nitish Rana, who anchored the innings with a fine 50, were the chief architects of the remarkable chase last night.

Shedding light on the gutsy display of flamboyance by the duo youngsters, Jayawardene was pleased with the effort.

“I was pretty pleased to see that it was two young players that carried us through,” he said. “Batted deep, especially Nitish (Rana). Anchored the innings upfront, and showed what he can do.

“When you lose your first game, to come back with that kind of character. That shows quality. Even the last game as well,” concluded Jayawardena.

Mumbai Indians indeed showed character in their come-from-behind victory against KKR. They now face the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday. The game will be played at the Wankhede Stadium, which gives Mumbai the edge.

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