World Cup is long, long way away, let's focus on the present: Rohit Sharma

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10 Dec 2019 | 12:27 PM
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World Cup is long, long way away, let's focus on the present: Rohit Sharma

Rohit also praised Kieron Pollard's leadership saying that West Indies are a changed side under him

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The Indian team might be treating every bilateral T20 assignment as an audition for next year's World Cup but vice-captain Rohit Sharma prefers to focus on the present instead of losing sleep over a marquee event, which is still 10 months away.

India will lock horns with two-time world T20 champions in the series-deciding third match here even as the efforts to find the right combination for the marquee event continue.

"See, I don't want to keep saying that we are trying to build a squad for the (T20)World Cup. It is still a long, long way ahead. We just need to focus on winning the series and that will keep us in good state, moving forward," Rohit said on Tuesday (10th December 2019) ahead of the series-finale.

"If we keep winning games, keep doing the right things on the field, the composition of the team will take care (of itself)," Rohit added.

The stylish batsman then gave his rationale for why he wants to take one series at a time.

"We are playing against a quality team and hereafter Sri Lanka is coming, then we go to New Zealand and thereafter there are a lot of T20s to focus on. If we focus on the present, that will help us more than anything else.

"Right now, we need to see what are the mistakes we are making so that when we come out and play every fresh game, we look like a different side."

Talk about chasing, Rohit agreed that India have been better while batting second compared to defending totals as one found out in the first two games in Hyderabad (won while chasing) and Thiruvananthapuram (lost while defending).

"Yes, of late our chasing has been good compared to posting targets. It was a good target that we posted but again it's a new set of guys.

"There are a lot of inexperienced players along with experienced players but that is what every T20 team now has, bit of inexperience, along with that some experience. Those two elements need to come together to form a very composition (composite) side."

He gave West Indies credit for chasing a target of 171 on a slow track.

"When you talk about setting targets, on that pitch (in 2nd T20 Intl), a target of 170 plus (171) looked decent. When we started batting, the wicket was on the slower side, the shot-making was not that easy although the West Indies made it look very easy."

At an individual level, Rohit's own approach remains the same irrespective of whether the team bats first or chases a target.

"My batting doesn't change whether we are batting first or chasing. Obviously, the first few balls, I want to see what the pitch is doing, what are the shots I can play on the pitch those are the things I like to assess when we are batting first.

"When we were chasing in 207 in Hyderabad, even then we just wanted to play a few balls to get used to the pace of the pitch. It also depends on how your partner is batting. It's very, very important that you complement your partner," he assessed.

Brian Lara had recently said that unpredictability makes West Indies a scary team but Rohit didn't want to go that far.

"I wouldn't say I am not sure of many teams but we are not scared of any team. Like I said they were good on that day and won the game, as simple as that. We were not good." 

West Indies have become a different side under Pollard

Rohit has seen a capable leader in Kieron Pollard from close quarters and believes that his longtime Mumbai Indians teammate has been responsible for a transformed West Indies side in white ball format.

Rohit, who played with Pollard for several years at MI, termed the West Indies captain as a "smart thinker of the game".

"I know Pollard really well and he has a great knowledge about the game. I know as a leader what he would be expecting from the team. Under his leadership, it is a different team that we are seeing now, so yes, we have to be at our best when we play them," said Rohit.

"He (Pollard) is a very smart player, smart thinker and he has been the captain of the team. When it comes to Mumbai (Indians), he has always been part of the leadership group and last year when I wasn't available for one game, he captained MI. So, he has always been part of the leadership group and I know how he thinks."

West Indies beat India by eight wickets in the previous game and Rohit agreed that the Caribbeans are unpredictable as a side.

"They are very unpredictable as a team, you never know what they can come up with on a given day, like we saw the other day. Even the first game, they played very well and it was Virat's (Kohli) brilliance that got us over. But with West Indies this is always expected and they play well as a team," Rohit, who has not done much with the bat in the two matches, said.

"We have got to stick to our plans, back it and execute it in the middle. Last game we made some mistakes on the field, whether it was with the bat, ball and also on the field. We know where we lacked as a team so we just need to tighten up in those areas and make sure that those mistakes are not repeated again and again," he added.

He said it's challenge for Indian bowlers to bowl at the West Indies batsmen.

"We just need to be thinking as if it is a good challenge to come against a team like West Indies where they have got some power-hitters all the way through. So it is a good challenge for our bowlers to bowl against a team like that where you know every second ball they will come and try hit a six."

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Rohit Gurunath SharmaKieron Adrian PollardIndiaWest Indies

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