There seems to be no end to India`s prolonged struggles against left-arm pacers with its stalwarts once again being at the receiving end of an onslaught by left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the marquee Asia Cup 2023 clash against Pakistan at Kandy.
It is no secret that left-arm bowlers have been troubling Indian batters for a long time — notably at the ICC events for a decade or so.
Be it Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson of Australia during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 semifinals, Mohammed Amir of Pakistan during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, Trent Boult of New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semifinals, or Shaheen Afridi of Pakistan in group stage match of T20 World Cup 2021, Indian batsmen have given away wickets to these bowlers without much resistance, especially in the powerplay stage of the innings. This same story continued on Saturday, with Pakistan once again rocking India with some early wickets.
The first one to go was the skipper Rohit Sharma, cleaned up as he made his move against the quick ball aimed at the stumps. The skipper was out for 11. India were 15/1 in five overs. Next up was Virat, who started off with some promise with his signature cover drive. He got a heavy inside edge as the ball hit the stumps with Shaheen maintaining his relentless pace. Virat could score runs. India were 27/2 in 6.3 overs.
The next one to go was Shreyas Iyer. Iyer. He returned to the game after an injury and made a promising start with two solid boundaries but a short delivery turned out to be his nightmare as Haris Rauf took his wicket with Fakhar Zaman taking a solid catch at deep mid-wicket. India were left reeling at 48 for 3 in 9.5 overs.
India faced another new ball collapse and Rohit and Kohli`s performance against the left-arm pacers with the new ball has come under scanner. Since 2021, Kohli has been dismissed four times against left-arm pacers. Against them, he has managed 87 runs in 98 balls at an average of 21.75 and a strike rate of 88.77.
On the other hand, since 2021, skipper Rohit has been dismissed by left-arm pacers a total of six times. He has scored 138 runs against them in 147 balls at an average of 23, with a strike rate of 93.87 in this time period.
In total, four of these dismissals have come within the first five overs. These statistics show that India`s concerns against the moving ball, especially by the left-arm pacers, have not disappeared completely and resurface often during big matches.
(With ANI inputs)