Rohit Sharma: When you captain your side, you are not such an important person
Skipper Rohit Sharma wants his team to defend totals successfully as India aim to improve their T20I rankings in the series against Bangladesh beginning today.
-By Shalabh Manocha
New Delhi: Twelve years ago, a 20-year-old boy from Borivli waited in the Kingsmead stadium's dugout in Durban for his chance to bat as his then-senior teammate Yuvraj Singh played one his most famous T20 knocks against England in the inaugural World T20. Rohit Sharma wouldn't get a chance to bat on his debut.
The next day he did against hosts South Africa. With an unbeaten fifty to his name the cricket world took notice of the silken touch the boy possessed with the bat. And yes, there was some praise for his run out of Justin Kemp as well. In fact, he became one of the few players who played an international game before playing domestic cricket.
On Sunday, at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in the national capital against Bangladesh that Borivli boy will become the most capped T20 player for India. Rohit, for now, has 98 T20 internationals like MS Dhoni and in the second T20 in Rajkot, he will get his 100th T20 international cap. A veteran now, Rohit called it a 'fruitful' journey on the eve of latest T20I series. He admitted having learnt many lessons which made him a "strong" player that he is today.
Rohit, who is also leading the side in the absence of Virat Kohli, has been in stellar form in all formats of the game for the past few months. So, the focus for him in the series, apart from carrying on his good touch with the bat, will be to make sure that team which is currently ranked fifth in the ICC T20 rankings moves up a few spots. "That is something we are focused on, get that number little higher. That is the standard we set," said the skipper.
To achieve this, the skipper felt where they need to improve is defending totals. "Our numbers are very good when we chase whether it is in India or outside India. Something which we really wanted to focus on was posting totals and defending them," explained Rohit.
This is the reason Rohit said India batted first against South Africa in the last T20 international in Bangalore, even though the pitch wasn't ideal to bat first at the ground where chasing teams mostly win. The hosts lost that game and the series was tied at one-all.
'No compromise of result'
Rohit, however, while agreeing to carry on the experiments doesn't want to compromise on the result, something his captaincy record shows as well. In the 15 games he has captained, India have won 12 and lost three. His contribution in those games with the bat also has been at a healthy batting average of 39.71 runs. "The first priority for us is to win games, and then focus on the rest," Rohit said.
His good record as skipper, be it for India or for his IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, has been because the man believed in a lot of detail. "In T20 you need a lot of strategy, planning, understanding the players, what you have in your squad and what they can offer. That is the most important thing for a captain to understand. That is something I have probably executed," he reasoned.
For him getting the best out of his teammates is key. "When you captain your side, you are not such an important person. The other 10 players are because you want to get the best out of them," he added.
Challenge for Pant, Sanju
As skipper, he also had a message for young teammates like Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson vying for the same role in the side. "That is the challenge of international cricket. You will not get exactly what you want. You will have to work your way, you will have to earn that position. At their IPL franchises, they are more or less guaranteed to play 10 games, so they know how to bat and what to do. When it comes to international cricket, there are limited opportunities."
Live on TV
1st T20I: India v B'desh: Star Sports 1, Select 1 and DD Sports, 19:00
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