India locks horns with Sri Lanka in the 1st ODI at Dharamsala on Sunday. India will have a stand-in captain in Rohit Sharma who will shepherd the team in place of Virat Kohli, who had asked for rest. India will have their noses in front as they have defeated the Emerald Isle nation in the recently concluded Test series 1-0. Rohit Sharma, the stand-in captain spoke to the press and here is what he said.
About captaincy, Rohit said, “It will be an all new ball game. This is a different set of players. But having played with these guys I understand their strengths and weaknesses. Need to carry from where we left as a team. IPL and international cricket is absolutely different. I will not change a lot, basics of captaincy will be the same. Stay in the present as the captain.”
Speaking of the middle order candidates, he said, “It is important to give Iyer and Pandey a number of games, it will help their confidence. As a team, whoever gets the opportunities they need to continue. They need to perform because there is a lot of competition. We do not want them to carry any pressure when they get on the field.”
He also spoke at length about his Test return, which was a success, he said, “It was important to be ready for the Test, whenever the opportunity arises. At Nagpur, I got a game and was ready for it. I am not putting any pressure on myself. Want to enjoy the game.”
About the situation of Shikhar and Kedar, “Shikhar and Kedar have hit the nets and they are pretty much a part of the 15. We will assess how they go today.”
On the upcoming ODI series, “We have put the Lankans under pressure. But every new series is different and we have to do our basics right. As a team, if we stick to the basics we perform better. We also have to be focused. We want to live in the present. It will be important people react to situations. Not thinking of the last series. We have to focus on every ball.”
On Jasprit Bumrah, he said, ” It is a great boost for him to be a part of the Test team. It is a reward for what he has done in ODIs and T20Is. It is a lesson for upcoming cricketers. I have only seen him grow. Every time he comes up with new strategies. He is also very focused and that is giving him the results. He went to NCA and worked on his body and he looks much fresh.”
India will soon leave for South Africa on December 27. India plays its first Test in South Africa on January 5.