"Nothing changes, we played against them seven months back in Asia Cup and World Cup": Rohit Sharma

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India Captain Rohit Sharma addresses the media ahead of India's much-anticipated Group A encounter against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup 2024 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York:

"I am pretty confident. The body language plays a big part for any game. There is no room for complacency. Any team can beat any on a given day. You cannot relax. If you don't have a good day, you can take some brilliant catches and that can change the complexion of the game."

"These wickets are challenging, even curator was confused on how they will behave."

"Playing good cricket holds the key. We have spoken about the conditions here. And have plans in place. We will try to give our best. There is lot of experience in our changing room. Making the right decision will be key."

"I don't want to rely on one individual to win us the game. Everyone needs to chip in. He didn't play the Bangladesh game. He didn't have a great outing in the first game, but we all know he brings in a wealth of experience."

"Nothing changes, we played against them seven months back in Asia Cup and World Cup."

“The pitch we will deal with, Part of international challenges. Remember what kind of Pitch we faced in Gabba where we took body blows. Nothing can get bigger than World Cup and whatever blow you take on body is nothing."

"Watched Pant play the first few matches in the IPL and made up my mind. It was about having the right batting position. His counter-attacking skill will be helpful, given we cannot play Yashasvi. He has got an all-round game. Besides the openers, none of the other batting position is fixed, unless it us a Super Over. We want to be flexible."

"They lost to Zimbabwe last time but still they made it to the final. This is a different format. It matters on that particular day. They will surely look at where they went wrong."

"You gotta be innovative and brave. There is a reason why we are playing with eight batters. Yes, conditions do matter and here you got to be mindful."

[Reporter:]

With India winning at the start of the tournament and Pakistan a shaky start, how much of a relevance is that from this match point of view or does the pitch hold the key?

[Rohit Sharma:]

I think playing good cricket holds the key no matter opposition. With the pitch, I think you know what to expect from the conditions, so you've got to prepare yourself in a way that you know these types of conditions are there. We have spoken about it, about what we need to do on these types of conditions. We have had lengthy chats with individuals about what the game plan can be for the batters and the bowlers as well. You can try to control what is in your control, which is to give your best, which is to assess and play accordingly. I said it in the previous press conference as well, the first one, where I said there is a lot of experience in our changing room. So, when you come across conditions like these, I expect everyone to at least try and make good decisions. Of course, it can go on either side of it, but as long as you think and make decisions based on what you see in front of you, you are giving yourself the best chance of having success. So, I think that is what we are going to try and do. Again, we are going to approach how we approached the first game. Nothing changes for us. We want to try and tick all the boxes in batting, bowling, and fielding.

[Reporter:]

We know that Virat always has had a strangle hold over the Pakistan attack, especially in T20 cricket - how good has Virat been in practice till now? How important will his role be in tomorrow's game?

[Rohit Sharma:]

Yeah, look, like everyone else, I think I don't want to rely on one or two individuals to win us the game. I think all 11 of us need to contribute. And of course, there are key players who are going to play key roles for us. But I think everyone needs to chip in, in whatever they can, in however they can, in their best possible way.

Speaking of Virat, obviously he didn't play the Bangladesh game, but he's had enough training under his belt before this game. He trained yesterday, didn't have a great outing in the first game, but we're not going to look into too much of that. 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.

[Reporter:]

Rohit, you have spoken about staying in the present and all of you are professional cricketers. But when something happens like what happened in the Ireland game where you got a blow, Rishabh got a blow, what does it take for the batter who has got hit or for the guys sitting there to put that behind and just focus on what's coming next? How much does it take out of you mentally to do that?

[Rohit Sharma:]

Look, it's tough, but that's when again I will come back to the experience part of it. I think a lot of these guys are quite experienced and the reason they are representing the country out of 1.4 billion is because they are mentally tough. They are different from the rest who are sitting back home. They have everything with them. They are slightly more - I wouldn't say skilled, but it's more to do with how mentally they think about it. And when you are playing at the highest level, all these blows that you get, I don't think it counts for anything. What counts is - what's in front of you. We saw many examples when you play in places like South Africa, Australia, and you have to cross those hurdles. The reason we won that Gabba Test match was because of our mental toughness. The last day when we were batting on that pitch in Gabba, we saw the invariable bounce there, and a lot of the batters got hit on their chest, fingers - and these are the hurdles that you have to cross when you want to have success in international cricket, it is not going to be easy every time. And these are the moments that you yourself as individual want to put in and try yourself and test yourself. So, I'm sure all the players who are going to play, want to be in difficult conditions, difficult situation they thrive on this kind of moments - it's the World Cup, so nothing can get bigger than this. You're playing for your nation in the World Cup. I think the blows that you get or you take on your arm, your finger or on your head, I think that can be secondary. You need to put the team's cause first, whether it is staying out there and battling it out and getting the job done for the team.

[Reporter:]

It's the same game of bat and ball. The bowlers do the same things that other bowlers do. But when there's a Pakistan game or a semifinal or a final, the stakes get higher. The expectations change. As players and as a captain, how does the leading-in period change for you? Small markers like how your brain is working, what kind of sleep you're getting, how you're feeling in the warm-ups etc. Does that, is there any change in that or is it just like another game?

[Rohit Sharma:]

No, not really. Nothing has changed from last seven months because we played them in the Asia Cup and now the World Cup. Earlier it was a different ballgame because we used to play them every maybe once in four years or two years, now it's a different ballgame. We literally played seven months back in Asia Cup and the World Cup and here we are again now.

So, for me I think nothing changes. I have said it many a times, I want to approach this as another international game where I get myself recollected and make those decisions on the field. I am sure everyone will have their own way of dealing with games like these, but I have my process. I will think about what is right to do at that point in time. Being a captain, I have to make decisions on the field. So, I think what's more important for me is to just think about what I need to do right now or this particular over - not to even think of how much do we need to get after 20 overs, or how much we need to bowl them out. I think it's about that one over, how we want to finish that over, staying in the present, and literally just nailing down to maybe over by over and think about what you need to do in that particular over and that is where the skill of captain comes into play. I'm sure other captains think differently everyone has their own way but this is how I like to think about that one particular over. Because this is literally a place where you can't think too far ahead. Game changes every over here. So, you need to think about that particular over and how you can win that one over and then move on to the next over.

So, I think it's about that. I know there's a lot of thinking that needs to go in this kind of thought process, but I'm okay with that.

[Reporter:]

Rishabh at number three, obviously there's a lefty breaking up three right-handers, but this is a guy coming back after so much, after 15 months, big leap of faith. Would you put this in the flexible category? Do you think this is a role which he could play regardless of how he fares throughout the whole World Cup and maybe even beyond?

[Rohit Sharma:]

Yeah, see, I had to look at Rishabh's just few games in the IPL to make up my mind where he's going to bat in the World Cup. And when I saw him the first half of the tournament, I was really happy and clear that this is where he's going to bat. And yeah, with a player like him, the kind of ability he has, t's always tough to find the right number for a player like him. But I thought for us particularly when we have three right-handers in the top four, it's nice to have him in the middle, where I think later on when we move ahead in the tournament, the spin is going to play a big part, where his counterattacking can come into picture in a big way. Since we don't have Jaiswal at the top, we wanted somebody in the middle who can just go and play freely. And Rishabh, I thought, is a guy, and I've seen enough of him over this five, six years now to know what his strengths are. Obviously, there is a little bit of weakness as well. But I would like to focus on the strength as of now. And I think he's got an all-round game. And we want to utilize that up front, where he gets to play maximum balls along with some of the other experienced players.

So yeah. Besides the openers, none of the guys' positions are fixed as such. We want to be very flexible in that and the message has been given to them very clearly about it, that only the openers will stay stagnant unless it's a super over or it's a five over game. But otherwise, the openers will stay the same. And then from number three onwards till number seven, we want to be flexible and think what is the right matchup. Certain guys love certain entry points in the game as well, so we want to think about all of those and then try and head into the game.

[Reporter:]

Your ultra-aggressive approach starts in the previous World Cup was crucial to India's successful campaign. So, given the conditions in New York, I'm not talking about Miami or West Indies, is there a need to change the approach or you will be like that? Because once the ball gets older, the runs are easier to come by.

[Rohit Sharma:]

Yeah, I think absolutely spot on. I mean, I want to play my game in a very balanced way. I don't want to be too aggressive or too cautious also. I want to find that right balance. And depending on what the pitch is doing on that particular day; I want to assess and play accordingly. But having said that, see, 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 go and try and do 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. But, yeah, there is a reason we are playing with eight batters because someone has to go and play freely at the top and try and see if they can put pressure and try and get those runs quickly as well. But yeah, 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.

If you see the Pakistan team for the last seven - eight months, they have been playing very inconsistent cricket. So how do you see this? Pakistan's inconsistency and not being able to play well. So, do you get an advantage because of this or do you also think that Pakistan can come back in any match? They lose one match against US, but can win another big match.

[Rohit Sharma:]

Yes, this is the specialty of T20 cricket. Anything can happen anywhere. Last year, in the last World Cup, Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe. But eventually, they played the final. So, this format is such that you can't be light here. You can't think much about the opposition, about what the opposition's form is. It doesn't take long for the form to come in this format.

Certainly, if you start well, it feels like you have the form. I think this format is a little different from ODI and Test cricket. In that the consistency, the way you play, that matters. But in T20 cricket, I think what's happening on that day matters. I'm sure the Pakistan team has also thought about what mistakes they made in the last match. I'm sure they'll also think that they shouldn't make those mistakes in this match and play good cricket.

So T20 cricket is such that you can't think much about the opposition that they lost the last match. So, it's not necessary that you'll lose this match and play lightly. You have to play your cricket well and that’s what I tell my team to focus on, and focus on how to play cricket, how to play good cricket, and what we have to do as a team.

[Reporter:]

Do you think India will have an edge because they have spent more time in New York, they know the conditions better than Pakistan?

[Rohit Sharma:]

Yes, till an extent you can say that we played cricket for longer – but see, this is happening in New York, it is not our house. We might have spent 6-7 days more than them, but even in that it rained for 3-4 days. We didn't get a chance to practice much.

But yes, we played 2 matches so, we have that 2 matches 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.

See, this is a drop-in pitch. The idea of drop-in pitch, where we live, we don't have much idea about drop in pitch. Because when we were talking to the curator, he was also very confused about how to play the pitch, how much grass should be removed, how much not to be removed. So, if he is so confused, imagine how confused we can be.

I think, basically when you play on such a ground, your focus should be on each ball. How do I play this ball? How do I make a run? You can make a strategy as a team, as a batting group, as a bowling group. And you can play with that strategy.

We have also planned something like this, and talked to the boys. Let's see how tomorrow's wicket is. We will have to assess very quickly what the wicket is playing, whether it's batting or bowling. We will have to quickly adjust and start.

[Reporter:]

Rohit, everyone is talking about wicket, but the outfield is very big. The boundary lines are very big. And it's a sand outfield, so the ball isn't travelling -so in these important games, instead of 4’s and 6’s - how important is it to run and make the runs?

[Rohit Sharma:]

No of course, see here the boundary and 6s are not easy, so obviously you need to put the ball in the gap and run for 2-3 runs. As I said, we don't know which pitch it is. But whichever pitch it is, whether it's a big on one side or small or a mid-sized pitch, both sides will be equal. But still, the outfield is quite big on the sides. So, there is an opportunity for the teams to be smart and push the ball into the gap and run fast. Because we saw that when you hit the ball from above, it gets stuck there. So, it's a little unknown, but it is what it is. The condition is what it is. We have to manage it.

[Reporter:]

It's important to start a tournament well for any team. You guys have had a great start. Pakistan has had a very struggling start. How important is confidence and momentum buildup? Body language - we were watching your practice sessions yesterday. Entire team was very confident. So how do you feel yourself and as a captain of the team going into this big game?

[Rohit Sharma:]

No, see, I'm pretty confident. I think that body language plays a big part, because that is very much in your control. Skills sometimes can take a backstage, because of somebody performing, somebody not performing. But body language is always in your control and you can always perform with your body language. On the field, how you show yourself up for any game, not just tomorrow's game. But this is the World Cup we are talking about. There is no room for complacency and you can't relax at any given stage. Because every team is capable of beating every team, especially in this format, in this tournament. A lot of these teams are playing a lot of T20 cricket these days. You cannot come into a game thinking, okay, we can roll over any opposition. Your mind needs to be right there and think about how we can win this game and try and be 100% or maybe more than 100% in that game. You can't relax. So, I think that obviously starts with how you show yourself up, how you start the game, your body language and wanting to do something for the team in whatever possible way. If you don't have a good day with the bat then here's always a chance you can take a couple of good catches, run outs, create that momentum for the team, create that energy for the team on the field. So, we try and take our practice sessions quite seriously and try and make sure that we utilize that session because that is the only time you get to get together as a team where everyone can come together and be as a team. So yeah, you try and make the most of the training sessions that you get. And because, like I said, that's where everyone comes together. We can talk about things, talk about what we need to do in the game. And certainly, it helps going into a game with a very positive and clear mind frame, whichever game you play.

Question: Gary you have coached India and you've seen the rivalry from that side. How's it looking from this side?

Gary Kirsten: The Same

"Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe last time but still reached the final. This is a different format, where performance on a particular day is crucial. They'll surely analyze their mistakes."

"I see it as a massive privilege to be a part of these games. I think I have been a part of two of them. Cricket doesn't get bigger than this. It's going to be a big occasion tomorrow. First India Pakistan game in America."

"I think the vibe is a little different this time (from Mohali 2011) because this isn't in India or Pakistan but I went for a ride earlier this morning around the stadium and I think it will be a good vibe out there tomorrow with the huge amount of people that will be there to show their support."
 
Last edited by a moderator:
India Captain Rohit Sharma addresses the media ahead of India's much-anticipated Group A encounter against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup 2024 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York:

"I am pretty confident. The body language plays a big part for any game. There is no room for complacency. Any team can beat any on a given day. You cannot relax. If you don't have a good day, you can take some brilliant catches and that can change the complexion of the game."

"These wickets are challenging, even curator was confused on how they will behave."

"Playing good cricket holds the key. We have spoken about the conditions here. And have plans in place. We will try to give our best. There is lot of experience in our changing room. Making the right decision will be key."

"I don't want to rely on one individual to win us the game. Everyone needs to chip in. He didn't play the Bangladesh game. He didn't have a great outing in the first game, but we all know he brings in a wealth of experience."

"Nothing changes, we played against them seven months back in Asia Cup and World Cup."

“The pitch we will deal with, Part of international challenges. Remember what kind of Pitch we faced in Gabba where we took body blows. Nothing can get bigger than World Cup and whatever blow you take on body is nothing."

"Watched Pant play the first few matches in the IPL and made up my mind. It was about having the right batting position. His counter-attacking skill will be helpful, given we cannot play Yashasvi. He has got an all-round game. Besides the openers, none of the other batting position is fixed, unless it us a Super Over. We want to be flexible."

"They lost to Zimbabwe last time but still they made it to the final. This is a different format. It matters on that particular day. They will surely look at where they went wrong."

"You gotta be innovative and brave. There is a reason why we are playing with eight batters. Yes, conditions do matter and here you got to be mindful."
If I read it in between the lines. There does seem to be a pressure to perform as a team. The unpredictable pitch doesn't help either.

He's reiterating and reassuring himself, the team and everyone that it's going to be same as World Cup and Asia Cup.
 
No wonder he looks confident ahead of the game against Pakistan, especially after seeing a dismal performance by Pakistan against USA.
 
Pakistan never fared well against India in wc even when he had proper players who were match winners
What hope do these current clowns have.

This indian team is too strong and alongwith Australia and South africa probably them 3 are the favourites too win.
South africa I add due to their bowlers .
 
In my whole life this is probably the least hyped match, sad stuff.
It looks like an exhibition match for me because of the venue. Both teams are expected to go through to next round regardless of the result. It has been set up that way.
 
Fans are furious about squad selection. So if they flunk this somehow repercussions back home will be furious. With so many youngsters waiting they have gone with oldies one more time. Not many liked this.
Agreed. If India loses, Rohit and Dravid will have lot of explaining to do for this joke of squad and team selection.
 
India is going to win this game. Pakistan has its work cut out by USA. Confidence will be low and the extra pressure of this game will take away Pakistan out of this game.
 
Rohit: You cannot relax against any team. We have been preparing.

Babar: I was relaxed against USA. We are preparing against India by going shopping with my brother 🤡
 
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