IIndore: Rohit Sharma, the India captain, is hoping ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah recovers in time for the last two Test matches versus Australia but stressed that Bumrah will not be rushed from the ‘critical’ back injury he is suffering.
“About Bumrah, I am not sure at the moment. He is not there for the first two Test matches. I am hoping that he plays the next two Test matches, but again, we don’t want to take any risk with him,” Rohit said on Tuesday after India completed a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series against New Zealand.
“Back injuries are always critical. We have got lot of cricket coming up after that as well. We will see and monitor. We are in constant touch with doctors and physios at NCA and we are constantly hearing from them.”
Since his back issue recurred in the lead-up to the Asia Cup, Bumrah has been undergoing a prolonged rehab. Earlier this month, Bumrah was added to the squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka but broke down again ahead of the series-opener.
Rohit also stressed that the three-year gap between his 29th ODI hundred and Tuesday’s 30th should be taken into right perspective. He also took a dig at the host broadcaster for flashing the tenure on the giant screen.
“Three years sounds a lot, but in those three years, I have played only 12 or 13 ODIs, if I am not wrong. You guys should know what is happening, it was shown on the broadcast. Sometimes, we need to show the right things also,” he said.
Tuesday’s was Rohit’s 17th ODI since his last ODI hundred, versus Australia at Bengaluru in January, 2020.
“For eight months, everyone was at home due to COVID. There were no matches. And then, for most of the last 18 months, we have played T20 cricket. And in T20 cricket, there is no better batsman than Suryakumar Yadav at the moment. He has hit two hundreds and I don’t think anyone else has. I have played two Tests since I was injured, so you have to put all of it into perspective.”
Rohit was full of praise for Shardul Thakur and Shubman Gill. Shardul tilted the third ODI in India’s favour with three wickets in 10 balls, including the prized scalp of Tom Latham for a first-ball duck.
Rohit revealed that the knuckle-ball dismissal was planned by the bowler and two senior players in the team.
“He is very critical to us, we know where we stand as a team, what he brings to us is very critical. I just hope that he keeps putting up performances like this and it will only do good for the team. He is very smart, he has played a lot of domestic cricket, he has come up through the ranks, he understands what needs to be done,” he said.
“In this format you need to use your skill and Shardul definitely has some skills. He has a good knuckle ball, bowled it to Tom Latham today that was nicely planned in the middle by a few players - I was not included in it. It was Virat (Kohli), Hardik (Pandya) and Shardul, so it was a good plan. At the end of the day, if a plan works for the team, we all are happy.”
Terming Shubman Gill’s “70-plus” ODI average as “crazy”, Rohit
admitted he has been impressed with Gill’s maturity. “He understands his game very well, he paces his innings really very well. That is what you want in one day cricket, you want big, you want to go deep into the game. He has shown it. He has got big hundreds, no matter how flat the pitch is to get double hundred is not easy.
“That shows, in that game the second-best score was 34 when he got a double hundred. It shows he was calculative and he understood he needs to bat deep. A set batsman needs to bat as long as possible. That is the reason we got 350 plus total in that game. He has got a great maturity in the way he thinks about the game, the way he approaches the game.”
Tuesday’s win elevated India to the top of ICC’s rankings for ODI cricket. Rohit dismissed the ranking system, in fact focussing on the learnings from this series with an aim to excel at the ODI World Cup, to be played in India in October-November.
“Honestly speaking, rankings and all it doesn’t matter, yaar. I saw before the series, we were fourth. I don’t know how we were fourth firstly because the entire last year, I don’t think we lost any series, so I don’t know how this ranking happens,” he said.
“And we don’t honestly look too much into it. We are preparing for the big event and all these games that we play will lead us into that big event. And we want to be ready with everything. We are playing in ourhome conditions. There are a few challenges that we need to be ready for.
“A few combinations as well, so it gives us a great opportunity to do all that before the World Cup. All these games, if you win, you get a lot of confidence. And that is what we want. When we went to the T20 World Cup, we won everything that we played, except the Asia Cup. When we went there, we were quite confident of doing well. Unfortunately things didn’t go our way, but that can happen. There’s another opportunity for us, so we just want to play and keep ticking all the boxes.”