Star Indian batsman, Rohit Sharma says the Indian team is not reading too much into South Africa’s surprise loss in the warm-up game and feels it will be a big challenge to beat of “one of the most consistent sides across all formats” when the series begins with the T2O International at Dharamsala.
“These are practice games. The teams field their best combination and try out reserves as well. I don’t want to read too much into the tour game result. Because every team is trying something or the other (in the warm-up games). It is better that we don’t look much into it. They are one of the strongest sides, in all formats and not in just T20,” Rohit said during a media interaction at the scenic HPCA stadium, Dharamsala. India A had humbled South Africans in a practice game in Delhi .
When asked about India not playing enough T2Os, Rohit said: “I agree that we have not played many T20s as a team but considering the fact that lot of guys have been playing in IPL, they are ready. We use that experience (of playing in IPL). Having said that, it will be a challenge for us to regroup in the format. Rohit said that focus will be on the ICC World T20 which will be held in five months time.
“The World Cup is round the corner so we have to make the most out of T20 games we play from now on. It will be a challenge for them (South Africa) as well, considering they have also not played a lot of T20 Internationals.”
South Africa T20 captain Faf du Plessis was pleasantly surprised that the tour opener will played on a fast and bouncy pitch.
When asked how India are preparing to face the visitors’ pace attack, Rohit said the unit is focussing both on spin and pace. “It is not only pace. They have got quality spinners too. They will be effective. It is better to focus on all aspects,” he said referring to the Imran Tahir-led spin attack.
He went on to say that frequent overseas tours have helped the batsmen tackle pace better. “The past couple of years we have mostly played outside India. It has given us a lot confidence no matter what the attack is or the conditions are. The tours outside have helped us evolve as batsman,” Rohit pointed out. Talking about the game forthcoming game in Dharamsala, Rohit said the team is better prepared than South Africans, having come here earlier than scheduled.
“We have got used to the conditions. We have come here early, got into the group. We have practised really hard in last few days, working on all departments of the game. “Plus coming here and playing in such a beautiful venue is wonderful. It is definitely among the top five stadiums in in the world. I have not seen anything like this outside India,” he said. Asked about his role in the team, Rohit said he doesn’t care about criticism from outside and plays to the side’s requirements. He also spoke about his seam bowling capabilities.
“I definitely wanted to add something to the team. If you bowl a bit, captain has that extra option. The wicket was seaming a lot in Sri Lanka and I thought a bowler who could chip in with three four overs to help the main bowlers. That is how I started to work on my bowling.”
On the familiarity between the players of two teams, thank to IPL, Rohit said “it works both ways”. “See honestly all these guys have played in IPL for last 5-6 years. They have faced our bowlers and vice versa. It is both ways, both teams are at an advantage and disadvantage. At the end, performance on the day matters.”
On the captaincy of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, he added: “Both captains are different in their nature. How they lead the team. We all know that. I don’t see adjusting (to their styles of captaincy) as a problem. Different individuals have different style of handling the team.”
“When MS (Dhoni) was captain in all three formats, we had huge success. If South Africa have different captains for all three formats, it is a different thought process,” he said.