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Rohit Sharma says mental approach key to South Africa tour

Rohit Sharma believes India’s recent series wins will be big morale boosters, but winning in South Africa will require a strong mental approach

cricket Updated: Dec 23, 2017 09:54 IST
Khurram Habib
Rohit Sharma,Indian cricket team,India vs Sri Lanka
Rohit Sharma smashed a 35-ball hundred against Sri Lanka on Friday.(PTI)

India stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma said that while the T20 series win over Sri Lanka will give them confidence going into the series against South Africa, a bigger test will be of the skills and minds.

“It’s always important that when you travel overseas, the last series has an impact. The momentum that you generate, the rhythm of the team does give a lot of confidence to the team. But once you go there, how you adapt the skill and the conditions remains the key. Even their fast bowlers will be much different than Sri Lanka’s. Every tour has its own challenges and every team doesn’t have the same bowling attack. When you travel overseas, the skills and mental approach need to be changed, nothing else. You can carry the confidence you have generated from the recent success in the Test, ODI and T20 series, so as a team we are on a high and the confidence will help us in South Africa,” said Rohit after the match.

Rohit was sublime during his century, which he got in 35 deliveries to become the joint-fastest to a 100 in T20 Internationals. He conceded that he lacks strength.

“I know my limitations. I don’t have the strength to hit the ball (far). I rely on timing and try to play with the field. I look to place the ball and find gaps,” said Rohit.

Asked if he had a double century on his mind at any point in time, he said, “Not really. I was thinking to score runs. Wasn’t thinking of any particular target. In all the format, I don’t look to get to a particular milestone. My job is to go out there and score as many as possible. Not just 100s or 200s or 300s. I go out there to make sure I get my team into a good position. My job is to do that. There are times when you don’t get runs. There are times when you get runs. This is all part and parcel of the game. Never do I ever walk out thinking that I want to score a century or a double century. I just want to give my best and get the team a victory.”

Rohit refused to be drawn into a comparison between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul over his choice of an opening partner. “Both are good batsmen but I will be captaining for one more match where Rahul will play. After that Virat takes over. He’ll decide on who’ll play. The next T20 series is some time away.”

Talking about his captaincy he said, “There’s a lot of pressure. After the first match, there was a lot of pressure on me. In Dharamsala, we were in a position where the team could have folded for the lowest score possible. After that game, I was thinking a lot about my captaincy and my team. I was thinking that I am leading for the first time and I’ve been put in this situation. There’s a lot of pressure on you always. Wherever you play, or any opposition you play - there’s always pressure. 150 crore people live in India and there’s the pressure of expectations from them as well. We’ve won the series but each and every match is important. It’s crucial to use each and every opportunity. Don’t know when I’ll lead India again so, for me, every match, every series and every moment on the field is important. (sic).”

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 09:06 IST