When questioned again about Virat Kohli’s batting form, India’s white-ball format captain Rohit Sharma on Tuesday dead-batted concerns and said it was just a matter of the media exaggerating things.
Asked a long-winding question about Kohli being inconsistent recent times by his lofty standards and what the role of the captain and coach was to deal with a player of his stature, Rohit said “everything will fall in place” if the chatter around him stops.
“I think it starts from you guys,” Rohit said. “If you guys (media) can keep quiet for a while, everything will be alright. If talking from your side stops, everything will be taken care of,” he added.
Rohit said Kohli is not under any pressure and will come good soon.
“He is in a very good space from what I can see and he has been part of international team for more than a decade. He has spent so much time in international cricket that he knows how to handle pressure situations. So I think everything starts from you guys. If you guys can keep it quiet for a bit everything will fall in place,” he added.
Kohli has not scored a hundred for more than two years in international cricket and struggled for runs in the recent ODIs against West Indies. But he had been in good touch in South Africa preceding that.
On Tuesday, It was apparent that Rohit isn’t pleased about Kohli being singled out for scrutiny at every media interaction. After the last game in the ODI series, Rohit was more playful when asked if Kohli needs a bit of confidence.
“Virat Kohli ko confidence ki zaroorat hai. Kya baat kar rahe ho yaar (Virat Kohli lacks confidence? What are you saying?),” he had said in jest. The response to another query on the same line a few days later was more curt.
Ahead of the T20 series against the West Indies starting Wednesday, Rohit also spoke about the importance of forgetting about the emotional rollercoaster that was the Indian Premier League auction and move forward.
Here are some excerpts from the interaction:
On dealing with emotions of IPL auction: We understood there will be lot of ups and downs in the squad on seeing who goes to play where. Yesterday we had a great meeting and just asked players to now focus on the colour blue. It’s all about India now, nothing else matters.
On whether team will continue to experiment in T20Is like the ODIs: Experimentation is an overrated term. We’re trying to address holes in our squad and we’ll do that first. Lot of players are young and have not played much at this level, so we can’t keep experimenting. We need to give them game-time, surety. Once we have that, then try whatever gaps we need to fill.
On whether everyone in squad will play or just core for T20 World Cup: Idea is to identify who will play WC and give them game time. Lot of players injured, unavailable. For these series, just got to get everyone ready, injuries are bound to happen.
On whether player roles in their IPL franchise is taken into consideration while deciding plans for India: Honestly no consideration for IPL here (on where someone bats for India). What matters is where they are going to bat for India, as simple as that. IPL happens for 2 months, we play for India for 10 months. What we need from players for India is more important. We need to get the roles right here, this series is for that. The mindset needs to be bat, bowl in a fashion for World Cup. Clarity given to them, upto them to get maximum results.
On Kuldeep Yadav-Yuzvendra Chahal: They’ve been a great asset in the past, and can still be. Things should start falling in place for them. It starts with us, giving them confidence, game time. We will try and do that. Also in the shortest format, we need bowlers who can bat as well. Players who can do 2-3 different things. That is where sometimes others get preference. But these two bowlers are wicket-taking options no doubt, and that is their role. It’s for us and them to make sure they get into that rhythm. Chahal, I can see that he’s already there from the ODI series. Kuldeep will need time because he was out injured for a while. Rhythm for wrist spinner takes a bit of time. Fingers crossed for both.
On Hardik Pandya’s role in this set-up: Important player, brings three skills. But we haven’t discussed too much, for us important is players being available. From there, we will see skillsets. Door is open for all, we will look at combinations for Australia. Conditions in Australia at different venues are different, we will plan keeping in mind all that.
On his personal fitness: I am happy to be playing again, two months went through a lot of stuff, trying to understand my body. Feeling absolutely fine at the moment, yes there are programs I am following to avoid injury concerns. Fingers crossed, injuries can happen to anyone at any time but I am doing whatever I can to prevent them.
With PTI inputs