“He led from the front in regards to driving toward the sort of way we wanted to play”

Mumbai Indians (MI) head coach Mark Boucher refused to be critical of skipper Rohit Sharma despite the latter’s underwhelming run with the bat in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. Describing Rohit as a quality player, Boucher stated that the captain led the way in terms of the vision the team had for the season.

Rohit ended IPL 2023 with 332 runs in 16 matches at an average of 20.75 and a strike rate of 132.80. He managed only two 50-plus scores in the entire edition, registering a highest of 65. In Friday’s (May 26) Qualifier 2 match against Gujarat Titans (GT), he was dismissed for 8 as MI floundered in a chase of 234.

Mumbai Indians were all-out for 171 in 18.2 overs, bringing their IPL 2023 campaign to an end. In a post-match press conference, Boucher shared his thoughts on Rohit’s batting performance.

The South African opined:

“Rohit is a quality player. What I do think is that he led from the front in regards to driving toward the sort of way we wanted to play. I think our batting this season was fantastic. We went out at the beginning of the season and we looked at our stats and thought we could improve in certain phases of the game. And the captain is the best person to go out there and drive that vision as well.

“So if you look at how we did in the powerplays compared to last season, from 7 to 10, you know we really upped the scoring rates and we played a good positive brand of cricket, which will stand us in good stead because the guys will gain a lot of confidence from that.”

Gujarat were asked to bat first after losing the toss in Qualifier 2. Shubman Gill’s superb 129 off 60, his third ton of IPL 2023, lifted them to 233/3. Suryakumar Yadav (61 off 38) top-scored for MI in the chase, but the five-time champions fell way short.

“We went with continuity within the side” – Boucher on Dewald Brevis not getting a game

Some critics were surprised with South Africa’s young and talented batting all-rounder Dewald Brevis not getting a chance in IPL 2023. Asked about the same, Boucher explained that the think tank was keen to have continuity in the side.

The former Proteas keeper-batter stated:

“We want continuity in the team. I feel for Dewald. He hasn’t played a game, but there are a lot of other international cricketers who have been sitting on the sidelines as well. Dewald is young. He’s going to have plenty of opportunities. We went with continuity within the side.

“There was no reason to try and change a team that has just won two back-to-back games under pressure. So no, I don’t think it was the right call to make.”

Brevis played seven games for MI in IPL 2022, scoring 161 runs at a strike rate of 142.48, with a best of 49.

Edited by
Renin Wilben Albert