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Asia Cup 2018: ‘I am ready’, says Rohit Sharma with a smile when asked about long-term captaincy

Rohit has been praised by all for his captaincy skills and he said that he had been observing MS Dhoni and tried to pick up little things from one of India’s most successful captain.

cricket Updated: Sep 29, 2018 23:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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Indian players celebrate the fall of a Bangladesh wicket in the final of the Asia Cup on Friday.(AP)

Moments after winning the 2018 Asia Cup, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma was asked by the media if he was ready to take on the role on a long-term basis. While it could have foxed Rohit as he has been leading the team only because the national selectors decided to rest regular skipper Virat Kohli, the opening batsman decided to add a bit of humour to the situation and said that he would be ready for whenever it comes to him.

“Absolutely (laughs)..we have just won, so I am ready. Whenever the opportunity comes, I will be ready,” he smiled.

Even coach Ravi Shastri felt that Rohit was brilliant with leading the team to the title. “Rohit was a calming influence and it showed on his captaincy. To keep his intensity going even after the start they had, showed he was really cool in every aspect of captaincy, the bowling changes he made were really good, to concede just around 100 runs in the last 30 overs, I thought it was brilliant,” Shastri told Kevin Pietersen at the end of the game.

Rohit has been praised by all for his captaincy skills and he said that he had been observing MS Dhoni and tried to pick up little things from one of India’s most successful captain. “Look, we always learn from (MS) Dhoni because he has been such a good captain. Whenever we encountered a problem or a question on the field, he was always there with an answer. What I have observed, him captaining the team over the years, is that he never panics, takes a few seconds before taking a decision, thinks about it then decides…so there is that similarity..I think I also have that. I also try to think and then react.

“Yes, you are playing 50 overs, there is plenty of time but still it is crucial to take that time. And I think I have learnt that observing him all these years. Have played under him for so many years, have learnt a lot, he is always there with advise when we need it,” he said.

Asked about Ravindra Jadeja’s return to the team after a 15 month gap, Rohit said: “I don’t think it was a break, he was out of the team. So when you are out of the team you have that fire inside you, have that burning desire where you want to make a comeback and prove yourself rather than proving anyone else. I think he has proved himself in this tournament that he is much, much better than what he was before. He came in the first game…I clearly remember, he flew the night before and played a game against Bangladesh and got four wickets. And even today if you see, he didn’t bowl his ten overs, his batting, his fielding abilities, are very, very crucial to the team. I think what he did today on the field, that run out, I think that was the turning point. That is something that gave us a way to come back into the game.

“I think that run out was crucial. And he knows that and also as a team we understand that what sort of a player he is and what he brings to the table. His batting again today, although he made 25 odd runs, was so crucial. I would say it was as good as 50 because in the context of the match, if you see those 26 runs were as good as scoring a 50 or a 60.”

Rohit said that the reason behind the team’s success was the freedom they got to play their natural game and not worry about the pressure of getting dropped. “For us as a captain or a coach, we got to make sure that they (players) have that liberty to play their game. Not to feel any pressure. And of course, I have led India before, not for a while but for a one-off tournament, so I understand the dynamics of this team, how we play cricket, how we want to go forward as a team.

“So I think taking everything into consideration, we wanted to move forward and I think in this tournament I can clearly say that we ticked all boxes here. And that is the challenge now for us when we go and play, wherever we play, that is the challenge for us to keep continuing to tick those boxes and get better as a team,” he explained.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 11:05 IST