Rohit cautious ahead of Asia Cup opener

India will play all its games in Dubai and captain Rohit Sharma has no hesitation in conceding it as an “advantage”. But the opening batsman stresses that it may not have huge impact on the eventual outcome of the tournament.

India captain Rohit Sharma with his Pakistan counterpart Sarfraz Ahmed in Dubai.   -  AP

Such is the format of the Asia Cup that one loss at any of the three stages may put an end to a team’s title aspirations. No wonder then that while all the other teams who will make the cut for the Super-four will feature at both the venues of the tournament, the fact that India will play all its matches at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium will certainly lend an advantage to it.

Captain Rohit Sharma had no hesitation in conceding it as an “advantage”, but the opening batsman stressed that it may not have huge impact on the eventual outcome of the tournament. “...I do understand playing at the same venue is an advantage but every opposition – that's the beauty of this tournament – (it) is different and you've to plan accordingly. Yes, you’re playing at the same venue, (but) the pitches will change, the opposition will change so your strategy has to change,” Sharma said on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's Group A tie against Hong Kong.

“You can’t go with the same strategy and mindset as you go with Hong Kong tomorrow, and day after with Pakistan. You have to change your team dynamics, the way you play, the strategy, bowling changes, batting orders etc. Right now, I'll say, yes, little bit of advantage, but you've to play good cricket to win the game. As simple as that.”

New addition to support staff

India's already sizeable coaching and support staff contingent got even bigger with the addition of Nuwan Seneviratne. While the Sri Lankan is designated as the assistant fielding coach, his primary role will be to be the specialist left-arm throwdown specialist and work in tandem with D. Raghavendra, who has been roaming around the world with India's squad as the lone throwdown specialist.

 

Sharma revealed that the squad was impressed with Seneviratne's skill-sets during India's recent tour to Sri Lanka and his addition augurs well considering a plethora of left-arm pacers Indian batsmen are likely to face in the near future.

“Looking at the future, we're going to be playing in Australia and they have quite a few left-arm bowlers. In Asia Cup as well, we're going to be encountered with left-armers,” Sharma said. “I think it's a great move by BCCI to bring him in. He seems to be quite accurate with whatever he does. He's pretty good at his job and it is a great addition to the team. Guys are only going to benefit.”