INDIA 2023

By K.R. Nayar
From Narendra Modi Stadium

Ahmedabad.  Indian skipper Rohit Sharma will handle Australia with the respect they deserve. Answering to a query from this writer on how is it to take on a not so dominant Australia like in the past or the does the tag they have of being five-times champions make him feel cagey, Sharma said: “I don’t agree with (Australia) not being dominant. They’ve won eight out of eight, the last eight games that they’ve played. And they played it really well. So, it’s going to be a good contest. Both teams deserve to be at this stage playing the finals and we do understand the importance of what Australia can do.”

My click when Rohit Sharma accepts the best wishes from journalists 

Speaking on the five-time champions tag, Sharma said: “They are a very complete side and for us again what is important is to focus on what we want to do as a team and I have said it many a times in the past in this tournament and even now I will say the same thing that we don’t want to worry about what the opposition is and what kind of form they are in and all of that. We need to focus on what is important for us, what we need to do as a team and as players as well.”

Sharma revealed that the team has been calm and composed despite the final being a big occasion. “Leading up to every game, we’ve been quite composed, quite calm about what we want to do. Because we know how it is outside the environment that we have. We know how it is, and the expectations, and the pressure, and the criticism, and everything. So, it’s important that we stick to our strength our group and what we want to do as a team. This is not just now this has been happening since game number one. That we have tried to maintain that calmness around the dressing room. Even on the field, when there is a situation where we have been put under pressure, we try to stay calm and just react to that pressure.”

Rohit Sharma at the pre-match press conference. Photo: ICC

Sharma then was candid to accept that emotionally it is very big.  “Emotionally it’s a big thing, a big occasion. Without a doubt, because whatever hard work and dreams you have, you have for this. And tomorrow, that day will be in front of us. But see, the biggest challenge for professional athletes is how you can put all this aside and focus on their work. So along with me, all the other 10 players who will play on the ground tomorrow, their focus will be more on their work for the team, rather than thinking about, this is the biggest moment of my life.”

Sharma then went on to add: “There is no doubt. Back of the mind it is there. You can’t hide from that. But it’s really important to remain calm in such situations because if you are calm and composed, then you can play your role as a team well. You can make good decisions in the pressure situation.”

Sharma talked about the relationship with his coach Rahul Dravid and the freedom he has given to the team. He even said that they want to win the Cup for him “Looking at how Rahul himself has played his cricket and how I am playing these days, obviously it’s quite contrasting. For him to agree and give me that freedom and liberty to go and play the way we want to play, that says a lot about him.”

Sharma then said how Dravid has backed his players. ‘The way he stood by the players in difficult times where during the T20 World Cup, we had a good run up until that semi-final and we lost and how he reacted to certain situations and informing the players about this is what we are looking at and all of that says a lot about him as well. And obviously, what he has done for Indian cricket is massive. And he also feels that he wants to be part of this big occasion. And it’s for us to do it for him.”

Sharma received best wishes from the Indian journalist and walked away with a thumbs up sign, which I captured in my mobile. Does the thumbs up also mean ‘Taste the thunder’ from his bat tomorrow? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *