Former Australia captain Aaron Finch heaped praise on India skipper Rohit Sharma, saying his aggressive approach changed the bowler's mindset before the game has even started.
Rohit scored a half-century in India's 160-run win against the Netherlands at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru in their last league stage match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
During his 61 off 54 knock, the Indian skipper set the new record for most sixes in ODIs in a calendar year by launching a colossal 92-metre six over long-on off Colin Ackermann, marking his 59th maximum of the year and surpassing the record set by former South African captain AB de Villiers in 2015.
Speaking to Star Sports, former Finch spoke on Rohit's aggressive approach in the powerplay, he said, "The thought process behind Rohit is he's trying to get the team off to a quick start. You see, the wicket tends to get slower as the tournament has gone on. So, that initial powerplay to put pressure on the opposition is really crucial.
Additionally, Rohit achieved the distinction of being the captain with the most sixes in a single World Cup edition. Surpassing former England captain Eoin Morgan's record of 22 maximums in the 2019 edition, Rohit secured this feat with his 23rd six in the 2023 World Cup.
"I think what that’s done is it's changed the bowler's mindset before the game has even started, knowing that Rohit’s going to come really hard at them. They start panicking a bit and maybe go into a defensive mode early on, and that plays into his hands as India has gotten off to some brilliant starts," he said.
The Indian skipper also matched Sachin Tendulkar's record for the most instances of scoring 500+ runs in World Cup editions. Both Rohit (2019 & 2023) and Tendulkar (1996 & 2003) scored over 500 runs in two editions.
Rohit has scored 503 runs in nine matches and has become the only player to score over 500 runs in successive ODI World Cups.
Former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden also spoke on how Rohit’s aggressive approach has helped the middle order flourish.
“Rohit Sharma has been really aggressive in this World Cup tournament. When you think about the mindset of what that means for his side, one is he has made the batting look easy, and two is he has a strike rate of 130 inside the powerplay. That has allowed the middle order, especially Virat Kohli, to just set out and put on that computer brain of his and work out exactly what needs to happen.
Adding to the chorus of acclaim, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir lauded Rohit's unwavering leadership, citing his ability to instill a sense of security in the dressing room, a crucial factor in India's success and a testament to Rohit's exemplary captaincy.
“Look, there is nothing which has changed from 2019 to 2023. There were so many changes that happened in 2019 as compared to the least amount of changes that has happened in 2023.
"A good captain and leader give you security, which makes the dressing room secure, not only for himself but for the other 14 players as well. And Rohit Sharma has done that. That’s why he has won five IPL trophies; that’s where his winning ratio when he started playing all those international games has been fabulous.
"If you go by the stats and the trophies, he ticks all the boxes. But the most important thing is he has made that dressing room a very secure dressing room. When the captain comes out and talks in his post-match presentation that he believes in his players and gives them longer runs, it makes you believe how much your captain is backing you.
"And that is the difference between Rohit Sharma as a leader, compared to some other captains that have captained previously for India."