Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our batting will be tested, says Rohit

Port of Spain: It was a fresh start for Rohit Sharma, in Port of Spain, on Monday. A match winning unbeaten 75-ball 68 in his comeback innings in one-day cricket will bolster his stake in the side.
The Man of the Match looked resolute from the first delivery and later, in the post-match media conference, he said that for him, the West Indies tour is the stage which will help him cement his place in the India team.

The following are excerpts
If there is lack of solid openers in the side

If the openers have been selected out of so many players, then I am sure they must have something special in them. Parthiv (Patel) and Shikhar (Dhawan) have done really well in the IPL. Yes, there is lot of pressure on the middle-order as there isn’t much of experience there (opening slot). Though Virat (Kohli), (Suresh) Raina, Yusuf (Pathan) and me have played a bit of international cricket, our batting will be tested in this tour.

The absence of stars and the added responsibility…

Yes, you can put it like that… But then, it doesn’t mean that when I am playing with seniors around, there’s no responsibility. Every time you wear the India cap, there is responsibility. It’s important to take pride in what you are doing.

Whether pressure of expectations affects him

Yes, expectations are bound to play in your mind. However, I feel you can take positives from that. I try to play my natural game and not think about what others are thinking about me… At the end of the day, it’s the runs you score that matter. No matter how talented you are, in the middle you have to score runs. This is very important phase of my career. I have to keep scoring.

If missing out on a World Cup berth still hurts

Of course, I was hugely disappointed. But then I had to move on. I wanted to make the most of the IPL. To some extent, I was successful. I had a good IPL. Whenever you are in good form, you have to carry on.

On his attitude being criticised time and again

I don’t think there’s anything wrong about my attitude. People have their opinions and I am not bothered about that. People will have their views when you play international cricket. You have to take the positives out of that. Honestly speaking, the more people talk, the more confident I get.

The way ahead for him…

Every tour is important. This will be the tour where I can set benchmarks and cement my place in the side. I want to play for India as long as possible.

If he sees himself as a main player of the team in future

I do… But there’s a long way to go. I would try to be consistent in every outing and keep on scoring heavily. When you are doing well, you have to think of moving to the next level.

If being the World champions adds to the pressure

Being the World champions is not a joke…. It’s a big honour for all of us. Definitely, from now on, there will be more expectations. People will keep a close eye on us. We need to keep doing the right things and win matches. We are aware of what is expected from world champions.

On his improved fitness level

I have worked really hard on my fitness… I had to sacrifice a lot of things in last three months. I always believe in moving to the next level. I need to keep working on fitness and batting… Keep upgrading, you may say. If you want to play for 10-15 years, the most important thing is to stay fit.

On conditions in the middle during the first ODI

It was physically demanding and extremely tiring… However, thanks to the IPL, we are now used to playing in the hottest of the conditions. It wasn’t much different here.

The present West Indies side

Well, they are a good team. They also have the advantages of playing at home. Most of our players are not suited to these conditions. It will be a good test for us. I don’t want to talk about them. I just want to focus on what we need to do.

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