Rohit Sharma: It’s about being ruthless, not overconfident

The India captain also stressed that youngsters like KS Bharat would be given a longer rope and won’t be judged based on a couple of poor shows with the bat.

Published : Mar 08, 2023 13:59 IST , AHMEDABAD

Indian captain Rohit Sharma addressing the press.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma addressing the press. | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

Indian captain Rohit Sharma addressing the press. | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

Ravi Shastri did not mince his words after India suffered a nine-wicket defeat in the third Test against Australia in Indore last week. “This is what a little complacency, a little bit of overconfidence can do where you take things for granted, you drop guard, and this game will bring you dow,” Shastri had said on air.

But on the eve of the series-deciding fourth and final Test, India captain Rohit Sharma differed with the former India head coach and ‘rubbished’ talks of complacency creeping in.

“When you win two games, if the people outside feel that we are over-confident, it’s absolutely rubbish. You want to do your best in all four games, you don’t want to stop after just winning two games. It’s as simple as that,” Rohit said on Wednesday.

India lost momentum in Indore after two comfortable victories in Nagpur and New Delhi. The Indore pitch was rated ‘poor’ by the ICC, with India’s approach also coming under the scanner. But Rohit indicated he’s not too bothered about what’s being said outside.

“All these guys, when they talk about being over-confident and all that, especially the guys who are not part of the dressing room, they don’t know what sort of talks happen in the dressing room. Ruthless is the word that comes to my mind and comes to every cricketer’s mind, and not to give an inch to the opposition when they are playing and touring abroad. That’s exactly what we have experienced when we toured outside,” Rohit said.

“The opposition will never let you come into the game or the series, and that’s the mindset we have as well. We want to do our best in all the games. If it seems over-confidence or anything like that for outsiders, it does not matter to us,” said Rohit.

Shastri was the head coach of the Indian team until November 2021, and played a key role in implementing an aggressive mindset. “Ravi himself has been in this dressing room, and he knows what mindset we have when we play,” Rohit said.

Being ahead of the bowlers

The India captain has been the highest scorer for India in this series with 207 runs in five innings, including a century in the opening game in Nagpur. Talking about how he approaches his innings, Rohit said, “When you are playing on these kinds of pitches, you have to stay slightly ahead of the bowler as well. Before he does anything, you are ready with what you want to do. It should be that kind of mindset. I am just talking about me and not anyone else. I cannot give you the details of how I approach an innings because it won’t be right,” he said.

“From the top, it’s basically trying to stay ahead of the opposition and try to do different things. Nagpur was a great example for me as well. Also, before this Test series, we played against England (in 2021), where I scored a hundred in Chennai, where the pitch was turning a little bit. You need to adapt to your strength. Your strength will be different than others. So, I stick to my plan.”

Longer rope for Bharat

The India captain also stressed that youngsters like KS Bharat would be given a longer rope and won’t be judged based on a couple of poor shows with the bat. So far, Bharat has scored only 57 runs in five innings.

“Bharat has played a lot of domestic cricket and scored a lot of runs. It would be slightly unfair to judge him on these kinds of pitches. You gotta give him enough room to set himself up for a big score, especially when someone is making his debut,” he said.

“That’s important, and I spoke to him at the start of the series that he should not worry about the wickets we play in and the challenges ahead, that he will get enough time because these pitches are not easy. You gotta back those guys, that’s what we are doing with KS…”

Rohit revealed he had a word with Ishan Kishan as well. “When he gets his chance, he will get the number of games. We will not drop him after playing just two Test matches. It will be unfair, and that’s what we are trying to do with Bharat,” Rohit said.

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