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IPL Final 2019: Ahead of final against CSK, Rohit Sharma identifies key player for Mumbai Indians

Though they were the first team to reach the final, Mumbai may still have some areas of concern. Sharma however didn’t want to be distracted by the negatives.

cricket Updated: May 12, 2019 17:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL Final 2019,IPL final,CSK
Mumbai Indian captain Rohit Sharma speaks at a press conference ahead of the 2019 IPL Twenty20 final cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in Hyderabad on May 11, 2019(AFP)

The lure of an unprecedented fourth IPL title or facing a Chennai Super Kings side they have beaten thrice this season isn’t making Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma breathe easy. “We are not going into the final thinking about our fourth title. That will take care of itself. What they have done won’t be a major concern. I would rather focus on my team. The tournament itself is the biggest challenge. I see every team as a threat. You have to be good on that day,” Sharma said at the pre-final press conference on Saturday which CSK couldn’t attend after their travel from Visakhapatnam got delayed.

That also means Super Kings go into the final without much rest while Mumbai Indians have had a four-day break. Asked if the gap will break his team’s momentum, Sharma said they desperately needed it. “We were on the road for quite some time,” he pointed out.

Though they were the first team to reach the final, Mumbai may still have some areas of concern. Sharma however didn’t want to be distracted by the negatives. “Areas of concern will never stop. There will never be a perfect game. We have set high standards, so every game we try and improve.”

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He attributed Mumbai’s sustained success in IPL to elaborate preparation. “Our preparation, not just before IPL but right after the tournament, is the key factor. Right after the tournament last year where we didn’t qualify, we started deciding which players to target at the auctions. For this, the scouting team has to be given a lot of credit,” he said.

“We have spoken to the guys about not getting too emotional about the final and not think too far ahead. That has helped too.”

Sharma said the hype around the final is justified. “The reason people look forward to this clash is that both teams have won the championship. Past doesn’t matter. We saw how Chennai had lost wickets in the powerplay. But yesterday they didn’t lose any. So every day is different,” he said. CSK brushed aside Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 on Friday.

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With the World Cup nearing, workload management of players like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah is of paramount importance. Sharma said while that was on the back of their mind, playing continuously also helped someone like Pandya, who was coming off an injury. “We assessed every player. It’s more an individual thing than what we decide for them. In the case of Jasprit, he likes to play games to ensure he is in good rhythm. If he thought he needed rest, we were open to it. Our trainers monitored. We were also getting feedback from Jasprit. We continued to play them because it’s important what they feel rather than us talking about it. And you can see the kind of form they are in.

“We played IPL before the Champions Trophy in 2013 and then went to England where we won. The guys who play IPL before an important tournament, we know they are in great touch with the game. Hardik is the best example. He has done tremendously well.”

First Published: May 12, 2019 11:15 IST

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