Set to play in only his second pink ball Test, India opener Rohit Sharma on Sunday said he will be "extra cautious and focussed" while batting during the twilight phase of the upcoming day-night match against England. Rohit, who scored a dazzling 161 in the second Test in Chennai, had featured in the first day-night Test held in India against Bangladesh in November 2019 but did not bat during the twilight phase.
"So far I have only heard that it kind of plays on a batsman's mind . I played just one pink ball Test against Bangladesh but didn't get to bat at that (twilight) time when sun was about to set but I have to try and understand what exactly happens during that time," he said during a virtual press conference ahead of the third Test against England, starting here on Wednesday.
"It's obviously a little challenging, the weather and light suddenly change. You have to be extra cautious and focussed, you need to talk to yourself. All batters are aware of these challenges. We just need to be mindful of the situation and play accordingly."
The four-Test series between India and England is currently tied at 1-1. Apart from this, Rohit is also concerned about adjusting to the lights and surroundings whilefielding in the newly-built Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera. "Whenever you play in a new stadium, there's always a challenge to get used to the lights. Tomorrow we will be practising under the lights so the focus will be on getting used to those lights and seats because the seats are new and they will be shiny," he said.
With a World Test Championship final spot at stake, the ongoing series holds great significance for both India and England. While India need to win at least one more match and draw the other if they are to progress to the final, England must win both the remaining games. "Yes, of course we want to qualify, we want to be there in the (WTC) final but we still need to do a lot of things right to get there. When we are playing, the focus is only on what we need to do to win the game," Rohit said.
"There are little steps which we need to take before we reach the final. It's too far ahead still. It's very important to stay in the moment. It is important to stay in the present and focus on the job at hand."
India's limited overs vice-captain stressed on the importance of communication, which according to him is essential for the side's success. "I often stand in the slips so I read the game from behind and it is important for me to pass on the information as to what the batter is trying to do. We try and keep sharing the information with each other so that the team gets what it wants on the field," he said.
"Whatever helps the team to get over the line we are ready to do that. On many occasions you have seen that the team has come from a difficult situation and made a comeback and that's only because of communication."
Rohit also touched upon his injury rehabilitation phase before the Australia Test series after he sustained a hamstring strain during the last IPL in the UAE. He thanked the BCCI and Cricket Australia for their support during his 14-day quarantine period Down Under before the Test series.
Rohit defends Chepauk pitch
Rohit defended the much-criticised Chepauk pitch used for the second Test against England, saying creating favourable tracks for home advantage is not a new phenomena for a cricketing nation. The Chepauk pitch came under the scanner for the vicious turn it offered from day one, with the likes of Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh criticising the groundsmen for producing what they referred to as a "minefield".
But Rohit disagreed. "...The pitch is the same for both the teams, so I don't know why this topic is raised every time. Both the teams play on the same pitch. People say pitches shouldn't be like this or that but for years Indian pitches are made like this only," Rohit said during a virtual press conference ahead of the third Test.
"I don't think there needs to be any changes. Every team takes advantage of their home conditions."
"When we go out other countries don't think about us, so why should we think about others. We should make pitches according to the preference of our team. This is what it means home and away advantage, otherwise this should be taken out. Tell ICC to make a rule that pitches should be prepared the same everywhere.
"When we go outside our opponents too make our life difficult. So I don't think we should talk much about pitches. We should talk about the game, the players," he added.
Rohit, who hit a dazzling 161 in the second Test in Chennai, said he hardly bothers about type of pitches while batting. "I don't think much about pitches. If you think too much about it, the pitch won't change. So the focus should be on how to play on the given pitch, what technique is needed."
"We need to prepare our mind according to the pitch," he said.
Rohit expects a Chepauk type of wicket at the newly-built Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium here during the pink ball Test. "I don't see anything changing in the pitch from what we played in the second Test. It's more or less going to be on the same page. It's going to be turning as well and we are preparing according to that," he said.