Rohit Sharma aims to heal ODI World Cup wounds in 2024

Rohit Sharma led from the front piling a magnificent century (121* off 69) as India won the third T20I after a double Super Over against Afghanistan at Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium on January 17 to claim the series 3-0. Rohit spoke exclusively to JioCinema and Sports18 after the match.


On to what extent India was able to execute their plans in the 3-0 series win

We had a lot of discussions before the series. I had not played for one year, so I discussed ideas with Rahul bhai (Dravid). Although I was watching the games, I was not playing. I got an understanding of a few things, so we wanted to implement them and also do something different.

We wanted our bowlers to bowl in a different way, someone wasn’t comfortable bowling in the power play, so we had to use them there. Some were not comfortable bowling at the death, we asked them to bowl there.

On how difficult it was to motivate himself and the team post the ODI World Cup final loss

I don’t think anyone here needs motivation. All the boys want to leave their imprint. Not everyone gets a chance to play for India, so I am sure all the boys who are here, want to make the most of it. You can see that they are making the most of the opportunities they are getting. That makes mine and Rahul bhai’s job a lot easier from that perspective. We just need to provide clarity.

On what he did post the World Cup final to get back to his best

The 50-over World Cup is the biggest World Cup for me. It’s not that I don’t give importance to the T20 World Cup and the World Test Championships. But, we grew up watching the 50-over World Cup. And when it takes place in India, it’s a very big event. We tried. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win. The whole team was sad. I am sure all the fans were sad too. But we have one more opportunity now and we’ll focus on how to use that opportunity and win the World Cup.

On how India intends to manage its large talent pool

It becomes challenging to a large extent because you are trying out a lot of players. Like when we were playing the ODI World Cup, we tried out many boys in T20s. They perform but when the main squad is announced, some boys have to be left out. So, it is disappointing for them. But our job is to bring clarity to the team. It shouldn’t be that we want to do something and something else is happening. So, in the pool of 25-30 players we have, they know what is expected of each player.

We have still not finalised the squad for the T20 World Cup, but obviously in the mind you know the 8-10 players who are going to play. Then you decide on the combination after looking at the conditions of the place you will be travelling to. In the West Indies, the conditions are quite slow, so we have to pick the squad accordingly. Again I say, Rahul bhai and I have tried to maintain clarity in the team. The one thing I have learnt from captaincy is that you can’t keep everyone happy. You have to focus on the needs of the team.

On the switch hits and reverse sweeps he executed in the 3rd T20I

I have been practicing it a lot in the nets. You have to play some shots in order to put the bowlers under pressure. When the ball is spinning and you can’t hit straight, you have to try something new. I have been practicing reverse sweeps and sweeps for the past two years. You would have seen me play them once or twice in Test matches. You have the options and it’s up to you how you are using those options. The ball was spinning and gripping today so, I thought I’d play with the spin rather than step out and hit hard in front of the wicket.