Rohit Sharma’s Asia Cup Press Conference: Stand-in captain talks about the middle-order, Khaleel Ahmed and a new addition to the team.
With India set to take on Hong Kong in their first match of the Asia Cup tomorrow at Dubai, there have been a slot of speculations regarding India’s middle-order. During the press conference a day before the match, Rohit Sharma said that the management will have a final word regarding the best combination that the team can take on the field tomorrow.
A closely fought competition such as the Asia Cup can make even the smallest of errors difficult for teams because a lost match has it in it to put the curtains down as far as the tournament is concerned for the whole team.
On being asked about the whether the Indian team is watching this as an advantage, Sharma was quoted, “I think it is an advantage and of course, as you said, this tournament doesn’t give you any chance of making a mistake. One bad decision can cost you a game or the whole series.”
Team India will have the privilege of playing all their matches at the same venue. Addressing the same thing, Sharma said, “I do understand playing at the same venue is an advantage. But, every opposition is different and you have to plan accordingly. Yes, you are playing at the same venue but the pitches will change, opposition will change. So, your strategy will also change.
“You can’t play the same XI vs Hong Kong tomorrow and then against Pakistan the day after. Things change with opposition. Little bit of an advantage but you have to play good cricket to win the cup.”
The current India ODI batting line-up remains unsettled with continual chopping and changing happening in the middle-order. On being asked if the team management was looking at it as a concern, Sharma answered, “It’s not settled. We all know about it. Lot of guys have played at that position. Going forward, we want everything to be settled. But, it gives opportunity to the guys to play the cricket they like to play and seal the spot.
“I wouldn’t say that it is a concern but as a captain and player of the team, you want a settled side. Nobody likes to be dropped and brought back. We want everyone to be feel safe and secure. Right now, the guys who are looking for that spot, look mentally fresh and raring to go. I guess they are a performance away from sealing the spot.”
In Khaleel Ahmed, India have included another rookie bowler to the squad. Sharma talked about the 20-year old left-arm pacer in the affirmative. “I’m quite excited about Khaleel. He’s a great variation to the squad. But also, you know, he generates quite a bit of pace. He is young, quite talented and can swing the ball at the same time,” he said.
“Looking forward to him playing and doing well for the country. Whatever I have seen of him, he can get the batsman into trouble, great skill set. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. He’s got all the tools to be required to play at the highest level,” he further said.
India have included another new member to the squad in a left-arm throw-down expert from Sri Lanka. On being asked about practicing with him and the changes that he has brought to the team, Sharma said, “Yes. We saw him in Sri Lanka when we were playing in Sri Lanka. And of course, we have two right-handers who do throw-downs for us. So, we wanted to bring in the change because left-armers are important.
“Looking at the future, we are going to be playing in Australia. They have good left-arm bowling attack. Even in the Asia Cup, we will be playing some good left-armers. I think it was a good move from the BCCI in bringing him and he seems to be quite accurate with whatever he does. He is very good at that job. It’s a great addition. Guys are only going to benefit from this move.”