In anticipation of the 2023 World Cup, Shadab Khan, Pakistan’s vice-captain and leg-spinner, made a surprising choice by naming Rohit Sharma as the “most challenging batsman to bowl to,” opting for him over Virat Kohli.

Shadab is currently in India for the 2023 World Cup, where Pakistan is aiming to secure their second ODI World Cup title, the first being achieved under the leadership of Imran Khan in 1992.

When asked about the most formidable batsman to bowl against, Shadab singled out India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, rather than the other superstar Indian batsman, Virat Kohli. The Pakistani leg-spinner acknowledged Sharma’s capacity to become exceptionally dangerous once he settles into his innings, exemplified by his three double centuries.

“I hold great admiration for Rohit Sharma, and among the world’s top batsmen, he poses the greatest challenge for bowlers. Once he finds his rhythm, he becomes a significant threat,” Shadab stated during an interview with the news agency PTI.

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Shadab had previously faced Rohit Sharma in their encounter during the Asia Cup in Colombo the previous month. During that match, Sharma hammered the Pakistani leg-spinner for 28 runs in just 10 balls, including three sixes and two fours, before eventually being dismissed by Shadab when attempting another big shot. Notably, in the same game, Virat Kohli scored a scintillating century.

Their rivalry will resume on October 14 when India and Pakistan face off in their World Cup clash at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.

While India emerged victorious in the 2023 Asia Cup by defeating Sri Lanka in the final, Pakistan faced disappointment as they failed to reach the final and finished fourth in the Super 4 round, trailing even behind Bangladesh. However, the Pakistan vice-captain remains optimistic about his team’s ability to learn from their mistakes in the Asia Cup and perform well in the upcoming World Cup.

“The Asia Cup did not go according to plan, but that’s the beauty of cricket – you learn from your mistakes, and there’s always an opportunity for improvement and to play excellent cricket. After our disappointment in the Asia Cup, we had a good rest, and I believe it’s not just about skill but also about mental strength in the World Cup scenario. You can make good decisions when you are mentally relaxed,” Shadab added.

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