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Those who can score above two runs per ball are real game changers: Navjot Singh Sidhu

Those who can score above two runs per ball are real game changers: Navjot Singh Sidhu

Romario Shepherd. (Photo Source: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Former India cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu shared his views on game changers in the shortest format of the game ahead of the Greatest Rivalry between India and Pakistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. Sidhu emphasised the role of strike rates in T20 cricket, reckoning that those who can “score a 2.5 per ball or above two per ball are the real game changers”.

“See, game changers are those who will score 2 runs in a ball. You are talking about strike rates, 1.5, 1.7, but there are some people who are scoring 2.5 runs, three runs per ball. The innings of Romario Shepherd, 10 balls, 30, right. There are some people who in the end will come and score in 10 balls, a 35. Now that is the quality. That 35 in ten balls, if two people score and support someone like Virat Kohli, is a game changer. Make no mistake about it,” Sidhu said in an interaction on Star Sports Press Room in New York.

“And I’ve been saying this, you look at the IPL and you look at the T20 format, those who can actually score a 2.5 per ball or above two per ball are the real game changers. There are so many of them. There is Ravindra Jadeja, there is Shivam Dube, and even Axar Patel also scores the runs in the same pace. Why is Dhoni such a great finisher, because his strike rate is 2.5, his strike rate at times is 4 per ball. That is the real game changing effect in the game of cricket in T-20. It’s a different skill altogether, the skill to clear the ground,” he added.

Part of the same show as Sidhu’s co-panellist, Harbhajan Singh shared his views on Rohit and Kohli opening the match. He stated that in an ideal situation, India should have gone with a left-right combination of Rohit and Jaiswal, however, he acknowledged the increased flexibility by shifting Kohli further up the order as it frees up space to slot in left-handers Shivam Dube and Axar Patel.

“Ideally the scenario should have been of the left-right combination, Yashasvi Jaiswal should have opened with Rohit Sharma and Virat to come at number 3 from my point of view. But from a team’s perspective, they have changed the combination because then Shivam Dube and Axar Patel wouldn’t have got the opportunity to play, so they have made this combination for a correct composition where Axar Patel is batting at no. 8, specially in this pitch where bowlers have an advantage. If the tournament would have opened in West Indies, then we would have seen Rohit and Yashasvi opening the match, there you wouldn’t have needed the 6th or the 7th bowler. So from this perspective, the combination of Rohit and Virat is important as they both are experienced players and they understand that 1st 6 overs are important and they can gain runs after that. You can’t expect 200 runs in this pitch, 130 or 140 runs would be good, and this combination will work”

Sidhu also shared his views on the India vs Pakistan match, recalling how this fixture used to evoke myriad emotions in him during his playing days.

“I used to think that if I wanted to be a hero, this was my chance. I believed that if I played well against Pakistan, the fans would forget all my bad innings. There were many opportunities. Chetan Sharma would often remind me that he had taken a hat-trick and claimed 200 wickets. But wherever I went, people only mentioned the time Javed Miandad hit me for a six. This incident highlights the psychological impact of India-Pakistan matches. No one can escape it. My best memory is when I was named Man of the Match against Pakistan. This sentiment is shared by everyone. Sometimes, it makes you sad, but you cannot avoid it. This intense rivalry, this love and clash, is what makes India-Pakistan matches so captivating.”

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