Sehwag and Gavaskar fumed at Hardik for distracting Mohit in the last two balls against CSK in the IPL 2023 final.
IPL 2023 probably witnessed more last-over finishes than any other season in the history of the tournament, putting more pressure on death-over bowlers. One could face the fate that Rinku Singh had handed Yash Dayal or could become what Sandeep Sharma had pulled off against the legendary MS Dhoni. On Monday, Mohit Sharma was en route to joining the latter group after that stunning start to the over against Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2023 final in Ahmedabad. But all changed in a moment of brilliance from batter Ravindra Jadeja as CSK cruised to a five-wicket win and earn their fifth IPL title. Batting greats Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag blasted Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya for the team’s loss.
With 13 required in the last over in Chennai’s chase of 171 in 15 overs in the rain-affected game at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Hardik reserved Mohit for the last over. He was the pick of the bowlers for Gujarat having picked two back-to-back wickets in his previous over which helped GT pull things back.
The right-arm pacer then started with four straight yorkers against Jadeja and Shivam Dube, conceding three runs only. There seemed a clarity in Mohit’s execution against CSK in that over and looked confident in his approach as well. Yet he erred in the two most important deliveries which were smacked for a six over long-on and four past short fine leg respectively as CSK chased down the revised target.
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Speaking to India Today, Gavaskar fumed at Hardik for distracting Mohit in the last two balls. The former India cricketer pointed out to the incident where water was sent down to Mohit ahead of the penultimate ball before Hardik came in to have a discussion with him on both the deliveries. Gavaskar feels that it wasn’t required when Mohit was performing to his plan.
“He bowled that first 3-4 deliveries absolutely brilliantly. Then for some strange reason some water was sent to him, in the middle of an over. Then Hardik came and spoke to him. When the bowler is in that rhythm and he is mentally also there, nobody should have said anything to him. Nothing at all. From a distance just say well bowled. Going to him, talking to him, that wasn’t the right thing to do. Suddenly Mohit was looking here and there,” he said.
Sehwag, in conversation with Cricbuzz, spoke on the same lines saying that Hardik’s act “disturbed” Mohit, causing him to err in his line and length in the last two balls.
“When some is bowling well and is delivering with yorkers, why will you go and have a word with him? He knows that the batter needs 10 from 2 and that he needs to stick with yorkers. Then why will you waste his time? Had Mohit been hit for runs, then he could have gone and had a word, but when the bowler is doing his job you want to get done with the over quickly. It also could be that the captain might have come with a concern about whether the bowler would want any changes in the field for the last two balls. But still, if I would have been there, I wouldn’t have disturbed him,” he said.