Rohit Sharma stressed that India’s near-perfect home season will give the team confidence for the overseas challenges lying ahead, starting with the tour to South Africa in the new year.
Excerpt from the press conference:
Does the recent success generate momentum for the South Africa tour?
It’s always important that when you travel overseas, the last series does have an impact. The momentum that you generate, the rhythm of the team does give a lot of confidence to the team. But once you go there, how you adapt the skill and the conditions remains the key. Even their fast bowlers will be much different than Sri Lanka’s. Every tour has its own challenges and every team doesn’t have the same bowling attack. When you travel overseas, the skills and mental approach need to be changed, nothing else. You can carry the confidence you have generated from the recent success in the Test, ODI and T20 series, so as a team we are on a high and the confidence will help us in South Africa.
You seem to not bogged down by the pressure of captaincy?
After the first ODI, there was a lot of pressure on me. In Dharamsala, we were in a position where the team could have folded for the lowest score possible.
After that game, I thought a lot about my captaincy and team. I was leading for the first time and had been put in this situation. Wherever you play, against any opposition, there’s always pressure. 150 or 140 crore people live in India and there’s the pressure of expectation from them as well.
We’ve won the series but each and every match is important. It’s crucial to use each and every opportunity. Don’t know when I’ll lead India again. So, for me, every match, every series and every moment on the field is important.
Were you thinking about 200?
Not really. I was thinking to score runs. Wasn’t thinking of any particular target. In all the format, I don’t look to get to a particular milestone. My job is to go out there and score as many as possible. Not just 100s or 200s or 300s. I go out there to make sure I get my team into a good position. My job is to do that. There are times when you don’t get runs. There are times when you get runs. This is all part and parcel of the game. Never do I ever walk out thinking that I want to score a century or a double century. I just want to give my best and get the team a victory.
Do you bring in technical changes after you are set? What do you try and do?
I definitely don’t have so much power. I rely a lot on timing the ball more than anything else. I know what my strengths are as well as my weakness. I try to play with the field as much as I can to be honest. The field is spread after six overs. I try and see where I can find my boundary options. It’s important to be able to play with the field. I want to score all round the park and not just one particular part of the ground. It’s important to explore the fielding the opposition keeps for me.
In all format, I try to do that. You can’t just hit in one area. You become predictable then. It’s always important to score runs all over the field and that’s my strength.
Did you surprise yourself with any shot?
Not really. I didn’t play any of those flamboyant shots. I was just trying to hit the balls in the areas that I was looking to hit. All the shots which I played please me because it takes a lot of effort to pull it off. Nothing in particular, I would say all the shots I played I really liked. Even when you defend it, you should like it as well. It’s not only about hitting boundaries and sixes. The ball that you hit in the gap should also make you more happy.
You seem to have a special liking for Sri Lanka?
When Australia was playing, they said Australia was my favourite team. There’s no particular team as such, I love playing against all the teams. I always try and do well against every opposition. If the score comes off, it comes off.
Rahul or Dhawan – who do you prefer as your opening partner in T20I?
You’ll have to ask Virat Kohli because I won’t be the captain after the next match. Both the batsmen have their own strengths. Since Shikhar is not in the team, Rahul will play the next match.