Rohit aims for 'balanced' approach with the bat - Cricket News | Cricket Updates | Match Report


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Rohit aims for 'balanced' approach with the bat

 Rohit top-scored in India's opening game on the same ground

Rohit top-scored in India's opening game on the same ground © AFP

Rohit Sharma set the 2023 World Cup ablaze with his high-risk and ultra-aggressive approach. Exploiting the familiar Indian conditions, he would go for broke from the beginning, providing a head start that became the catalyst for India's near-successful campaign in the 50-over championship. Scoring close to 600 runs (597) at a strike rate of over 126, he emerged as one of the batting stars of the tournament.

Fast forward to the United States and New York. The format is different, the conditions are difficult, and the pitch keeps wreaking havoc on the batting line-ups. In such a backdrop, is Rohit prepared to continue his no-holds-barred approach against the bowlers? No, he aims to be more balanced, respecting the challenging conditions.

"I want to play my game in a very balanced way. I don't want to be too aggressive or too cautious. I want to find that right balance," the skipper said on the eve of the game against Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup. "The conditions do matter and certainly in New York, at least here, you don't feel that you can just go and play freely or swing your bat the way you do in the other venues. So yeah, you've got to be mindful. That's where I think I want to use my experience and play. But having said that, yeah, I want to keep that balance of not being too aggressive and not being too cautious also. I want to stay in the middle."

India have played one match so far and Rohit was the highest scorer in a comfortable eight-wicket win over Ireland with an unbeaten 52 off 37 deliveries with a striker rate of 140. What stood out in that innings was his preparedness to wait, rather than taking the plunge straightaway. Ireland was an easier opposition than Pakistan against whom Rohit is looking to strike a balance between caution and aggression.

"Someone has to put pressure on the bowlers to try and do something different. Otherwise, it's a very easy game. Come and hit that length and let the pitch do the rest. Unless the batters try something different, the bowlers are not going to change their plan too much. That's my understanding. Somewhere you have to be innovative, brave to take all those options. There is a reason we are playing eight batters; someone has to go and play freely at the top and see if they can put pressure and get those runs quickly."

Apart from Rohit, Virat Kohli will be the other key batter in the Indian side against the arch-rivals on Sunday morning. In five games, Kohli has scored 308 runs, having been dismissed by Pakistan only once in those five knocks. He can be a big advantage for India and a major thorn in the flesh for Pakistan. But Rohit would not want to understate the value that Kohli brings to the team but is clear that this team is not dependent on one player.

"I don't want to rely on one or two individuals to win us the game. I think all of us need to contribute. And of course, there are key players who are going to play key roles but I think everyone needs to chip in, in whatever they can, however they can, in their best possible way. The kind of experience that he has, playing all over the world, playing in big tournaments, nothing can beat that. So, I think, like him, there are responsibilities on everyone who is going to play tomorrow to fetch us those two points."

Asked if India enjoyed the advantage, having played two games already in New York whereas Pakistan hasn't played or practiced here yet, the India skipper said, "Yes, to an extent you can say that we played cricket here longer - but see, this is happening in New York and it is not our home. We might have spent 6-7 days more, but even in that it rained for 3-4 days. We didn't get a chance to practise much. Yes, we played two matches, so we have that much more experience.

"But we don't know which wicket we will play on here. Here, the wicket is behaving differently every day. So, for both teams, there will be the same opportunity, same conditions. According to me, the team that plays good cricket that day will win. And not that because we have spent a lot of time in New York, so we have more awareness of the conditions."

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