As it happened, the fast bowlers together took seven wickets. But then the spinners bowled only 15 overs in total, as England collapsed to 129 runs inside 35 overs.
“Every kind of combination is possible,” Rohit said. “If needed, we can still play three spinners and two seamers. In this tournament you have seen that the spinners really stop the run flow in the middle overs. Whether we have Hardik or not, I am keeping my options open. If the situation demands that we will play three spinners, we will play three spinners. A lot of skill in the middle overs can put brakes on the scoring rate. Our spinners have a lot of skill in these conditions.”
So far in this World Cup, the spinners have been slightly more effective in controlling the scoring between 15 and 40 overs. While seam bowlers have conceded 5.97 runs per over during this period, spinners have conceded runs at a rate of 5.23 runs per over. However, the seam bowlers have been slightly more aggressive during these overs – they average 35.69 during this period; The corresponding number for spinners is 35.69.
If the idea was to rest India’s key bowlers ahead of the knockout, however – especially when India have a bowler of Ashwin’s quality on the bench – Rohit insisted that India’s attack would remain fresh. The hosts are yet to qualify for the knockouts, but a win over Sri Lanka will put them through. From there, they will still be keen to stay as high up the table as possible, with the first-placed team set to play fourth-placed in the semi-finals.
Rohit said, “As far as giving rest to the bowlers is concerned, they are in great form at the moment.” “They don’t want to rest. Their bodies are fine. That’s the feedback I have got from all the bowlers. They are happy playing.”
This is despite India covering some serious miles during this campaign. After traveling for practice matches in Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram – two opposite ends of the country, essentially – India have also been to Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Dharamshala, Lucknow and have now reached Mumbai. They cover significantly more ground than any other team in the competition. But that’s just part of the job, Rohit said.
“We are really enjoying ourselves from one end to the other – this is nothing new for us,” he said.
“And I’m sure all 15 of us – when you travel from India, whether you’re playing a match or not, at the airport, on the flight next to you, or wherever you’re travelling, there will be people, they are Will talk about your game. ‘We want a century.’ ‘We want to see you take five wickets.’ ‘We want to see you win games, tournaments and so on. I don’t think it’s pressure, but it’s good that people are expecting a lot of things from us.’