In an exclusive interview with Star Sports, former Indian cricketer and commentator, S. Badrinath, shared his insights on India’s impressive performance in the ongoing cricket World Cup, particularly highlighting the team’s dominant display and the leadership of Rohit Sharma. Badrinath also delved into the resurgence of spinner Kuldeep Yadav and the balance in India’s bowling lineup. He also addressed the absence of Hardik Pandya and the approach he believes the team should take in his absence for the game against England. Additionally, Badrinath shed light on the untested middle order and the cautious optimism surrounding India’s World Cup campaign.

Speaking about Sharma’s captaincy and impact as an opening batter for India, the S.Badrinath said, “First, his captaincy has been very good. He’s stuck to the process, backed the right players. Especially, he’s showing a lot of confidence in Shardul Thakur, and it’s probably time for that move to pay off, considering Hardik Pandya is likely missing from tomorrow’s game, and Shardul has been playing well. That’s some good news right there. Kuldeep Yadav also seems to be blossoming under Rohit Sharma. I think the captain-player relationship between them is really strong. Overall, I think Rohit is like a big brother type of captain. He’s easy-going and has a great relationship with the boys. So, I think he’s doing pretty well, and his batting form has been tremendous. He’s spoken about it before, saying that he’s going to play positively right from the word go, and that’s precisely what he’s been doing.” (Watch: ‘This One Is Robbery’, Sadeera Samarawickrama Catch To Dismiss Chris Woakes Goes Viral After Umpiring Controversy Erupts)

On Kuldeep’s resurgence and the factors contributing to it, the S. Badrinath explained, “Two things. If you consider it from a technical standpoint, he’s worked on his run-up, making it much straighter, which provides more momentum to his bowling. Additionally, he’s improved his non-bowling arm, which is now coming much straighter. These two technical adjustments have increased his airspeed. He used to typically bowl in the early 80s, but now he’s consistently bowling between 85-90 km/h, which is generally the ideal speed for spinners in ODI cricket. Tactically, I think he’s feeling a lot more confident under Rohit’s captaincy. He’s getting the space to express himself and execute his bowling. So, these factors are working for him.”

Badrinath also spoke on whether he considers India’s bowling line-up the best, he said “I wouldn’t say best, but I would use the words ‘Most Balanced’, because Bumrah is there and he’s a 360 degree bowler who can be used anywhere, and we have got Siraj who is in great form. Apart from that we have a wrist spinner and a really good left arm spinner along with Hardik and Shardul in the mix, I think it’s the most balanced bowling line up in this world cup probably.”

Badrinath also said that he would play a bowler in Hardik’s absence, he said “See Hardik is a big miss, because let’s be honest he’s they key player who provides the balance for Rohit and Team India. But I personally will be looking to play a bowler, be it Shami or Ashwin it doesn’t matter, because I want a bowler in there who can bowl 10 overs because I don’t see Shardul bowling 10 overs match on match because that will be difficult. So the comfort was there when Hardik was behind him, but since he is not, I will go with a bowler.”

Badrinath also spoke on the matter of India’s middle order not being tested, he said “See it’s a fact that India’s middle order has not been tested, but it’s not a matter of concern, because India have been dominating and the top order is getting runs so can’t call it a concern, but a fact. But these things happen in sport, you can’t pay the price for playing too good cricket. I hope the 2019 demons don’t come and haunt India, that’s my only worry.”

Catch all the action from the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 –India vs England, October 29th 2023, from 12:30 pm onwards, LIVE & Exclusive on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar.

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