Rohit Sharma feels facing left-arm pace attack is not a problem for Team India – India are pratising against young left-arm pacers to get ready for the New Zealand series.
Rohit Sharma (Twitter (@BCCI))
To tackle the left-arm medium-pace challenge that the Indians will face against New Zealand in the form of Trent Boult in the upcoming limited-overs series, India had a couple of young southpaws bowling at them in their first net session of the series.
One of the two youngsters was a certain Arjun Tendulkar, son of the legendary Sachin, bowling over the wicket to the Indian top-order batsmen in front of the watchful eyes of head coach Ravi Shastri standing in the umpire’s position and bowling coach Bharat Arun. The quality of the net bowlers may not be the same as an international bowler. But that certainly helps the Indians make some adjustments to be on top of Boult.
For India vice-captain Rohit Sharma, it is not just about facing Boult, though he admitted it was a challenge to face left-armers. India were only recently up against the Australian left-arm pace of Jason Behrendorff in the two T20Is recently.
Speaking to the media before their practice session on Friday at the Wankhede, Sharma said: “The last time India had a left-arm seamer in ODIs was a long time back in Zaheer Khan. Our team is used to that now. We have performed exceedingly well. For us batters, I think it will be a challenge to face a left-arm seamer. Trent Boult is one of their prime left-arm fast bowlers and will be a huge challenge. Having said that, we have played them last time (in 2016). So, we know what they are capable of and what they bring to the table. It is not about just one left-arm seamer. It is a complete bowling unit we have to look at. Their bowling attack is very competitive. They tend to perform well together as a bowling unit. For us, it is not just about one individual. It is about their whole bowling unit, how we need to come up against their bowling unit and perform.”
Since being named the limited-overs vice-captain, Sharma has had a tremendous run with the bat, scoring three centuries and three other half-centuries in his last 10 ODI innings. The Mumbai Indians captain said nothing much has changed since his elevation as Virat Kohli’s deputy.
“It has not changed much. It is very similar to what it used to be before. Every now and then, it is an open discussion with the team. For me as vice-captain, there is a responsibility. There is something I always look forward to going out there on the field and contributing not just with the bat but also with sharing ideas with the captain. I don’t see much has changed and I don’t want to change too much also. I believe if it remains the same as it is over the years, it will be good for the team.”
The talk these days of the Indian team is about the wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Sharma said that the two have evolved into mature spinners since joining the Indian team.
“There has been immense improvement in their confidence,” Sharma said. “They are not afraid to make tactical changes, flight the ball and go for wickets, which is very important in this format, especially when they bowl in the middle overs.”
“It is important they have the confidence. For us as a team, we rely on those two guys to do the job in the middle overs. They have done exceedingly well in the last series. It was pretty evident that whenever the ball was given to them, they came up with some or the other tactical plan and got rid of the set batsmen. To get crucial breakthroughs in the middle is important, and they have done that. From here on now, they will keep on growing as an individual and as a player also. The more matches they play, their confidence will grow.”
On the challenge from New Zealand, Sharma said, “Every new series has its own challenge. The greatest strength of this team is we treat each series as it comes. Every opposition who comes here has its own strengths and weaknesses. Our challenge is to adapt to the opposition quickly. We played against Australia and they had different team dynamics.”
“New Zealand, on the other hand, has a different team dynamics. We’ve played these guys last year during a similar time in India. And the team is more or less similar to what we played. The strategies and planning won’t change from what we had last time around. We would like to continue from where we left against Australia.”
Speking on his personal form, the opener said, “You feel good when you score runs. The last few years have been really good. When I started opening the innings, I spoke that I wanted to be consistent at the top because it’s very important from the team’s perspective. So, in that space I am quite happy right now, but the hunger (for runs) will never go. You will take every series as an opportunity and go out and perform the same.”
“For me, every series I play, I feel is the first game of my career, that’s the kind of pressure it is and comes with the sport. You start fresh and that is a great hallmark of great players that we have seen over the years, they have always started their innings or tour or matches fresh. What has happened in the past has happened, and if you stay in present, you will continue to perform well and be consistent,” he added.