Rohit Sharma said he backs his aerial strokeplay and will continue to do so, after his dismissal on day two of the Brisbane Test against Australia left India in a spot of bother at stumps on Saturday.
Rohit looked in good touch during his 44 off 74 balls but was dismissed trying to loft off-spinner Nathan Lyon over mid-wicket, the kind of shot that has often brought about his downfall in his Test career.
“It’s not a shot that’s coming out of nowhere. It’s a shot I play, have played it well in the past. It’s something that I back myself to do all the time. That’s the kind of role I have in this team. Yes, when it turns out like this it looks bad, but I don’t think too much about it,” Rohit said during the virtual press conference.
“My focus has always been to make it big once I’m in. Having said that, there’s a process I like to follow. That process is to get on top of bowlers once I’m in. I try to keep up the pressure on the bowling unit of the opposition. Sometimes you get out, sometimes it goes over the ropes. But yes, it was an unfortunate and very sad dismissal to be honest. But again, like I said, those are my shots and I’ll keep playing them.
Rohit further explained what went wrong for him during his dismissal, saying it was all about missing the timing.
“I reached where I wanted to reach, just that I did not connect with where I wanted to hit the ball. I was trying to pierce that long-on and deep square-leg fielder, I just did not connect the way I would have loved to. I actually liked what I did today, before coming here, we knew it would be a good pitch to bat. Of course, there would be bounce and carry to the keeper but this is what I enjoy,” said Rohit.
The 33-year-old also reflected on his role in the team, saying he always tries to put pressure on the bowlers and look for runs.
“Once I was in and I had played a few overs, I realised there was not much swing so I did a little adjustment there, after that, it was an unfortunate dismissal, it is something I won’t regret. I like to put pressure on the bowler once I am in and that is my role in this team to keep putting pressure on the bowlers. The run-scoring has been slightly difficult for both the teams so someone needs to put their hand up and think about how to put pressure on the bowlers,” he said.
“In doing that, there is a chance of making mistakes but you should be ready to accept that. It was a plan so I actually have no regrets about playing that shot, it is something I like to, Nathan Lyon is a smart bowler, he bowled into me so I was not able to get the elevation.”
He explained the technical adjustments that he made in Sydney and now in Brisbane as he has tackled the Australian pacers well.
“In Sydney, there wasn’t much bounce, so I was staying on leg stump of the ball and here I knew the line and lengths particulary of the two right handers (Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood), they try and test you outside the off-stump all the time. So, here, I came a little bit on the off-stump to make sure that I cover the line and don’t push my hands outside the off-stump. That’s the little adjustment that I did,” he said.
During his two weeks of hard quarantine, he watched the Australian pacers at work in Adelaide and Melbourne and made a mental note of how he would approach their first spells.
“I was watching the first two Tests and saw the discipline that Aussie bowlers had and you have to try and figure out ways to score runs against these guys. They don’t give anything easy. What has really worked in the first half of my batting is getting closer to the ball and try and leave anything outside the off-stump. And then once I am in, try and play a few shots as well because that’s what you want to do, score runs and see how they react when you score runs,” he said.
On the match situation, Rohit said that although 369 at the Gabba was a very good first innings score and there is no reason why India with two of their most seasoned campaigners at the crease can’t match the home team’s total on a good batting track.
“We have got solid batters to come in now. Two of the most experienced players are still out there in the middle. The pitch is good and I don’t see any reason why we can’t get to that total of first innings.”
His advice for the batsmen is to play session by session rather than looking at the final total.
“We should focus on what’s there in front of us rather than thinking too far ahead. It’s a big score and we have to focus on sessions, take it as it comes. The pitch is playing good and we have to back ourselves. We have the guys to do it and I don’t see why we can bat well on day three,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)