This article is from Cricbuzz.
By G Rajaraman
Mohit Sharma is too nice a bloke to complain about anything. He is not the sort who will crib about cricket being a batsman's game or about having been roped into the Indian squad only in the eleventh hour after Ishant Sharma was ruled unfit for the ICC Cricket World Cup. All he knows is to back himself to make an impact when presented with the chance.
Mohit has shared the bowling limelight with Mohammed Shami in India's massive victories over Pakistan and South Africa, two of the toughest opponents in Group B. The first let India extend their streak of wins against Pakistan to six and the latter enabled the team beat South Africa for the first time in four World Cup starts.
He does have a cheerful disposition off the field, a ready smile lighting up his face when he recognises someone who hails him but he acquires a mean countenance when he is given the ball. Combined with his ability to be consistent with his line and length, he is the kind of player a skipper would love to have in the team.
Mohit has picked up two wickets in both games and has answered his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's call for intensity, aggression and efficiency tellingly, not just when bowling but also when fielding.
Shikhar Dhawan, who got a superb 137, was always a frontline candidate for the Man-of-the-Match prize at the MCG just as Virat Kohli was in Adelaide for his century against Pakistan. But Mohit would have been a strong contender on Sunday for his wickets of opener Hashim Amla and top-scorer Faf du Plessis and his hand in AB de Villiers' run-out.
Amla, averaging 55-plus in ODI cricket, was setting himself up to play the anchoring role. He beautifully pulled Shami to the square leg fence but the fact that the team was chasing 308 to win and had made just 38 runs in the first 10 overs saw him attempt a hook off Mohit from outside off-stump only to top-edge a catch to fine leg.
Mohit then made de Villiers pay the price for challenging his arm. His throw from deep cover to Dhoni caught the South African skipper short and ended his 68-run partnership with du Plessis. It was an important breakthrough and allowed India to pile the pressure on the rest of the batting line-up.
Called to the bowling crease again when du Plessis and David Miller were battling to keep the spinners at bay, Mohit rewarded Dhoni with du Plessis' wicket with the first ball of his over. The manner in which du Plessis had stepped out smacked of predetermination and Mohit got the South African when he attempted a pre-determined flat-batted stroke.
Dhoni did not single out Mohit for praise Shami has taken on the burden of bowling with the new ball in Bhuvneshwar Kumar's absence but the captain did not hesitate to point out the fast bowler's consistency and his use of the deceptively quick bouncer. "The pitch may have been two-paced but the bowlers still need to hit the right areas," he said.
De Villiers admitted that the team was outdone on Sunday by some short-pitched bowling and the two run-out dismissals. "It is not often that you would see a South African struggling against short pitched bowling," he said in a comment that was more of praise for Mohit than an indictment of his own team members.