His record as stand-in captain has been quite impressive and Rohit Sharma today made it clear that whenever the opportunity comes along, he would be “ready” for full-time captaincy.
Under Rohit, India have won two close multi-nation tournaments – the T20 tri-nation in Sri Lanka and now the Asia Cup 50-over tournament.
A three-time IPL winning captain of Mumbai Indians, Rohit was asked if he is ready for a long-term leadership role in future.
“Definitely. We have just won so I will surely be ready (for captaincy). Whenever the opportunity comes, I will be ready,” a smiling Rohit told reporters after India’ Asia Cup triumph.
There are challenges of a stand-in captain, Rohit admitted, adding that the main objective is to allow players to play freely without thinking about their places in the team.
“It’s a challenge for any team when few of your senior players are rested. Obviously they will make a comeback and few of the guys have to miss out. Every team is doing that and also guys understand that.
“It’s up to them whenever they get an opportunity they make it big and make it count but for us – myself as a captain and our coach, we have to make sure that they have the liberty to go out and play their game without feeling any pressure,” said Rohit.
“I understand the dynamics of this team, how we play our cricket and how we want to go forward as a team. I think in this tournament we have ticked all the boxes,” Rohit looked satisfied after accomplishing his task.
Rohit made it clear that his philosophy of leadership is to help players shed insecurities while playing for the country. He in fact assured the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik that they will be playing all games.
“When we came here, I wanted to give them the assurance that they will be playing all games. That’s how you make players. If you know after two games you are going to get dropped, it’s not easy for any player.
“I wanted to give everybody a fair run and play more games. That’s how you understand a player’s capabilities. One odd game, you can’t judge a player,” said Rohit
Similar to Dhoni
Coach Ravi Shastri has praised Rohit’s calm demeanour during their victorious Asia Cup campaign, a trait that he has picked up from his illustrious predecessor.
“Whatever I have seen of him (Dhoni) leading the side for all these years, he never panicked, took time while taking decisions. There are those similarities in me too,” Rohit added.
The stylish Mumbaikar spoke about qualities in Dhoni that he has tried to inculcate.
“I also try to first think and then react. Yes, 50-over cricket gives you time but still you need to take time as well. I have learnt this from seeing him, we have played for so many years under his captaincy. Whenever there is something, he is ready with advice.”
He agreed that No’s 4 and 6 are still not settled and the picture would be clearer closer to the World Cup.
“Numbers four and six need to get more games as the World Cup comes closer. Right now is not the time. Come the World Cup, we will get a clearer picture. The next few tournaments, that will be ideal for us to judge as management where they stand as players.
Rohit was more happy with the fact that a young team achieved so much.
“It was very young team that we brought here. Not many boys had the experience of playing in these conditions. It was hot. It wasn’t easy for the boys to adapt because they had come from England. It was very important to get used to the conditions.
“But I think overall, our preparation for this tournament was good. Seven-eight guys came here early while the other boys from England landed here a day before the tournament,” said the skipper.
Fitness was an issue in gruelling conditions, admitted Rohit.
“The message was to focus on the fitness because we haven’t played in conditions like this before. I think this was a big challenge for us. The conditions here were quite slow and there was help for the slow bowlers.
The skipper also praised his spinners for their consistent show.
“Even today, if you see, the way Bangladesh started in the first 10-15 overs and after that the way our spinners brought us back in the game. Our spinners’ performance in the last six-eight months has been consistent. It’s been a positive sign.