Livescore Sunday, April 21


This will be Rohit’s first final as a captain in an ICC event. © Getty

For all of India’s recent Test-playing experience in England, there has never been a Test match played at the Oval in June. There is very little information to bank on as the toss-up for the bowling combination continues ahead of the World Test Championship final against Australia. Add to it, an-early start – 10.30. However, Rohit Sharma is unfazed by all that is not within the team’s control, and is hopeful of bagging his maiden ICC title as skipper.

“I’ve gotten the job to make sure that we take Indian cricket forward every time whoever it is, whether it’s me or someone else, even the guys before, their role was to take Indian cricket forward and win as many games, as many championships as possible,” he said on Thursday. “For me also, it will be the same. I want to win games, I want to win championships. That is what you play for. And yeah, it will be nice to win some titles, win some extraordinary series.

“But having said that, I genuinely feel that we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves by overthinking about these kinds of stuff. As a captain, like I said, every captain wants to win championships, So I’ll be no different. I also want to win the championship. And that’s what the sport is all about, winning championships. So for me, it’ll be nice if I can win one or two championships, as in when I decide to move on from this job. So it’ll be nice. So we’ll wait and see what happens.

“Tomorrow, we’ll start another challenge – the next five days will be quite challenging for us and gives us the opportunity to win the championship, but we do understand that winning the championship is not easy. You got to do a lot of things right to win the championship. Right now the focus is just on that, how we can come out on top and do well in this game. So the talks, the preparation has just been around that. I haven’t really thought about what is going to happen in the future.

“Honestly, it’s always nice because I’m somebody who’s always believed that what you have in front of you, focus on that rather than thinking way too ahead, what can happen in the future, what kind of things you want to do. But there are certain things that I’ve set in my mind that I want to do. So hopefully I can achieve that.

It has been nearly a decade since India last won an ICC title – the 2013 Champions Trophy – despite having performed well and reached several semifinals and final, including the final of the 2021 WTC. However, Rohit refused to delve into what the issues were for India’s inability to come good in the knockout games of ICC Championships. He also brushed aside Ricky Ponting’s comments that the conditions will favour Australia.

“That’s his point of view. He’s allowed to give his opinion. Only time will tell which team has used the conditions really well.honestly – for us, it doesn’t really matter because we know what is at stake and we need to focus on that. And that is what the team is going to do. Whoever uses the conditions really well, probably will win the game. As simple as that. And also handling the pressure during the course of this five days because there will be times where the teams will be under pressure in this five days so you just got to adapt and handle that pressure really well to come out on top.”

While many of India’s batters are coming into the tournament at the back of a prolific run in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League, the challenge up against them will be to adjust to the challenges of Test cricket with the Dukes ball in England. The focus is on opener Shubman Gill, who topped the run charts in the IPL. Rohit is confident that the young opener is well equipped to adjust to the demands of that.

“The way he is batting at the moment, I don’t think he needs any advice. It’s just about his preparation, how he has prepared in the last 5 or 6 days since he has come back from the IPL. He has played in these conditions before. He played that World Test Championship final and then he played that one-off test match which happened last year as well. You know Gil is somebody who likes to bat.

“He’s a batter who likes to bat, likes to spend a lot of time in the middle, as you saw. I know even though it was a T20 format, he got big, big hundreds. He likes to be out there in the middle and face that challenge. That is what he likes, and that is what I will also hope and Team India will also hope that he spends a lot of time in the middle and plays well like he has been doing in the last 6 or 8 months – so to be honest not really too much to tell him. It’s just about for him, giving him that confidence, because he’s a very confident player. So it’s just about, giving him more and more confidence.

One of the bigger challenges that the team management will be up against is whether to go in with two spinners or one. Rohit stated that the team will wait till tomorrow to take a call on the bowling combination.

© Cricbuzz


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