Want to play all - round role: Rohit
Mumbai, July 9: At 25, Rohit Sharma surely has his best years in cricket ahead of him. The fluency of his batting has impressed the stalwarts of the game and even earned appreciation from peers like Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. The talented stroke-maker held his own during India A’s tour of the West Indies with some gritty batting displays. But it was his impressive performances with the ball that came as a surprise to many. With 13 wickets in the Caribbean, Rohit seems to have timed his wicket-taking spree to perfection after securing a berth in the Indian squad for the series in Sri Lanka.
Ahead of a grueling, yet enticing season, the middle-order batsman shared his insights on what lies ahead for him and the Indian team in an exclusive interview to bcci.tv.
You have been contributing with the bat and the ball; do you see your role expanding?
No, I don’t see my role expanding; it is part of my job. In any other way [than batting] if I am contributing I think it is very good news for me and my team as well because, anything you do on the field which is contributing towards your team’s success adds more value to your presence in the team. So I don’t think my role is expanding, whatever I am doing, is part of my job.
Do you see yourself as a batting all-rounder?
Yes ofcourse, batting is my priority but, as I said, if I can contribute in fielding and bowling as well, it will help my team take away some burden off the bowlers and the fielders. I think it will really help the captain and the team management. So, I want to do everything that is in my hands.
Do you see any similarity in the way you play your drives and the way Mahela Jayawardene does?
I don’t know about that because I don’t believe in comparing players with each other. Everyone has different styles and people have their own views. I don’t see any similarities and I don’t look into that aspect much. I just play the way I have played so far. I have never tried to see how any other individual [plays his game]. If people feel it, it is their opinion and I can’t change it.
How are you gearing up to face Sri Lanka later this month?
First, what will be important is getting back together because it has been a while [since we played together]. We haven’t played together after IPL. We get two or three days before we head off to Sri Lanka. We have three days in Chennai where we prepare before we go to Sri Lanka which will be crucial. Sri Lanka is a good team and they have been playing very good cricket for a couple of months now. When we were in Sri Lanka the last time we had beaten them. Our record in Sri Lanka has been very good over the last few years. We will take that confidence with us. Obviously we are playing on their home turf so it won’t be easy but yes, we are confident that we will put up a very good show.
What did you learn while on tour with India A in the Caribbean?
Whenever I have spoken about it, the only thing I have mentioned is 'consistency'. I just want to concentrate on that and contribute in every possible way and not just batting. Bowling and fielding does matter as well in a team’s success, so I feel all the three departments [are important and] I will try to contribute in some way or the other.
We watched you face some of the world's best bowlers in IPL. When someone like a Dale Steyn is on song what is your game plan?
You suddenly can’t make game plans for bowlers like Dale Steyn. You have to play [based] on your instincts and you have to believe yourself that you can do it. If you just back away from that situation then I don’t think you can recover. You have to dominate the bowlers. Dominating doesn’t mean that you have to go berserk against every ball. You have to play sensibly and plan your innings according to the situation. You know which strokes you should and shouldn't play. It really depends on the conditions; what type of wicket you are playing on. If it is a good wicket then obviously you are a little positive. If it is not a good wicket then you have to be a little cautious about the strokes or whatever shot you play. You have to plan accordingly. You have to see the conditions first.
Virat Kohli says he is a big fan of your batting, Suresh Raina says he will pay to watch you bat, your take?
It is obviously very encouraging when your team-mates talk about you like that and I feel the same for both of them. Both of these guys are very talented. They have got their own class. Virat has his own class, Raina has got his own. They have been doing well for India for last couple of years now and hopefully they will keep going on like that and all three of us will make India very proud.
How do you see the long season ahead panning out?
It is a very tough season ahead. Every second month we are playing cricket. We don’t have much off time once we start the season in Sri Lanka. So yes, I am sure guys have already planned it out [...]. As a young player you want to play as much cricket as possible. It is not something which is very new to us we have been playing consistent cricket for last three-four years now.
With expectations hovering over you where do you see yourself five years down the line?
Five years is a long time. I would like to take it one moment at a time. I don’t want to rush on to things, because lot of time is left [ahead]. I want to play more and more cricket every time I go on to the field. So, I don’t want to think about five years down the line, what I will be and where I will be. I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on myself I just want to enjoy every series I play and every match I play. I just want to do that because with such huge amount of cricket going on I am sure it is better to take one moment at a time. I would just like to concentrate on that. I am sure things will fall in place if I keep doing the right things.