Team is 95% settled for T20 World Cup, but we still need some answers, says Rohit Sharma
The Indian squad is receiving criticism for its performance and is on the verge of an early exit from the Asia Cup, but captain Rohit Sharma says that the team lineup is mostly fixed moving into the T20 World Cup, despite the fact that they are still searching for “answers.”
Avesh Khan was ill and Ravindra Jadeja had knee surgery, thus India only had two frontline seamers to choose from in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh, with Hardik Pandya serving as the third fast-medium option.
The team lost consecutive Super 4 matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka after failing to defend par scores of 181 and 173, respectively, because to a lack of sting in its bowling attack.
“It’s 90-95% settled, just a few changes that will happen,” Rohit said of the team combination after a humiliating defeat against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
The captain continued by saying that he wanted to try out a few new things in the Asia Cup and see what would happen if four specialised bowlers were utilised.
“When you talk about experiments, yes, we wanted to try out certain things. If you look at the combination we have been playing before the start of the Asia Cup, it was with four seamers, two spinners and the second spinner was an all-rounder.
“I always wanted to try and find answers as to what happens if you play with three seamers and two spinners, and the third spinner being an all-rounder. We are still looking for answers,” he explained.
In particular, it done to see if Hardik could function as the third seamer.
“I want to prepare for the World Cup where you challenged as a team. When you go to the World Cup, you want to have all the answers. Since Hardik Pandya has come back, we have played with 3 seamers.
“It’s good to know what can happen when you play with three seamers, two spinners … These defeats teach us a whole lot of things,” he added.
Still looking for some answers
Rohit contradicted himself when he mentioned that many answers still needed even though he claimed that 95 percent of the team settled.
“There are a lot of questions we need to answer, and along the way, in the three-four series we’ve played, we have found some answers.
“There will be a time where we will draw a line and say, ‘this is the combination we want to play for the World Cup.’ After this, we have two more series and then the World Cup. Till our squad announced, we can try out a few players.”
Hooda picked ahead of DK and not given bowling
Why Deepak Hooda brought on at No. 7 and not given even one over to bowl his off-breaks was a pertinent question.
“Yes, we have a sixth bowling option, but we also wanted to try out with five options and see what happens and what doesn’t happen,” Rohit said in his defence.
“Today Hooda was there, but both their right-handers (openers) set, and I didn’t think I could bring him on then because we looking to take wickets through our attacking spinners Ashwin and Chahal,” Rohit referred to the 97-run opening stand between Pathum Missanka and Kusal Mendis.
“If we had got early wickets, I wanted to bowl Hooda, he was in my plan. But yes, sixth option is always nice. When we play the World Cup it will be at the back of our mind to play with six options.”
DK is missing out due to left-right combination
In his opportunities to bat, Rishabh Pant has played fast and loose. But captain Rohit claimed that Dinesh Karthik’s exclusion from the starting lineup is solely tactical.
“See, it is simple. We wanted a left-hander to bat in the middle. That’s why Dinesh Karthik is out. Not because of form or anything. We wanted a left-hand batter in the middle to take pressure off, but it didn’t happen.
“But by no means DK has dropped because of poor form. We always want to have flexibility in the group.”
Rohit didn’t fail to highlight that some trials will continue during the home series against Australia and South Africa.
“We will keep changing players every now and then depending on the opposition. Four-five batters will play, but there will always be those one-two changes in the batting.”
Nothing wrong and atmosphere is good
The Asia Cup would undoubtedly dissected if the United States did not go to the finals. But Rohit insisted that the team and its present style of play are fine.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong, it looks like it from the outside, but we don’t look at it that way,” Rohit repeated what his predecessor Virat Kohli would oft repeat at the press conferences.
“I’ve been at many press conferences, and when you lose such questions will asked. It’s normal. But as far as the team is concerned you can go in [the dressing room] and see, all the boys are relaxed and chilled. We need to have such an atmosphere whether you win or lose.”
The environment in the dressing room has improved significantly, in Rohit’s opinion.
“We’ve worked hard to make the team atmosphere that way and all the boys are happy about it. If the dressing room mood is good, eventually the performances you see will happen on the ground.
“Before the World Cup, it’s important for us to keep the atmosphere good. And not judge the boys by wins or losses, performances and non-performances. Because whoever is here, they’re all good. That thought we need to be consistent with,” he concluded.