With the T20 World Cup squad already picked, India cricket team skipper Rohit Sharma wants his players to get out of their comfort zone and explore new things about their game in the six home games against Australia and South Africa ahead of the ICC showpiece next month.
Rohit feels players can now afford to extend their ‘limits’ without the pressure of selection.
The management will be giving rest to the likes of Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh over the six games but by and large it will have a full squad at its disposal.
Rohit’s comments come in the backdrop of its Asia Cup campaign in which the team management experimented quite a bit and copped criticism for that.
“I wanted to bring security in the team that is why we announced the team for both the series before the World Cup [Australia and South Africa]. In Asia Cup also we more less had the same team,” said Rohit ahead of the series opener against Australia.
“In these six games we want to keep trying what we can achieve with different styles. It is all about going out and trying to find ways of exploring ourselves but there is no limit to trying new things. You can extend yourself in so many directions to achieve so many things for the team.”
Virat Kohli went out of his comfort zone during the Asia Cup and played a rare sweep shot and Rohit wants even the bowlers to push their limits.
“We will keep encouraging people to be more expressive. For example someone who doesn’t play reverse sweep, can he play that and see if he can do it right. Someone can hit down the ground, things you are not comfortable doing, you do that and see what happens.
“When you go into the World Cup you should have all these answers. For bowlers, they can try opening the spell with a yorker or a bouncer,” said the skipper.
After the early exit from the T20 World Cup last year, India were forced to change their batting approach and Rohit said the team will continue to play aggressive and in case it loses early wickets, the back up plan is in place.
“We will continue to play like that. That is something we spoke quite clearly at the start of my [captaincy tenure] and everyone is comfortable with that. At the same time we know our second line of defence if we are in trouble. We spend a lot of time talking about these things,” he said.
“Guys are very clear if we are 10 for three how we need to bat. If we are 50 for no loss, how we need to bat. These have been discussed at length, it is just about executing now.”
India had won against Pakistan and Hong Kong in the first two matches but lost to Babar Azam and his men and Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage to crash out of the Asia Cup.
“If you see our Asia Cup performance as well we posted par plus or par scores in every game except the one game against Sri Lanka where we got 173 which was also a good score,” Rohit said.
“In Super 4s we had close games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, it could have gone either way. You need a bit of luck as well. Hopefully we will get that in the World Cup.”
Talking more about the batting style, Rohit said: “This approach of ours has given us a lot of trust that we can go out and play like that. It is a great sign.
“We will have another review meeting of the last 10 months after these six games and will see what we need to do in World Cup,” said Rohit.
Withe Mohammad Shami down with COVID-19, Prasidh Krishna being injured and Mohammad Siraj playing county cricket in England, Umesh Yadav has been brought back into the T20 fold.
Coming in as Shami’s replacement, Rohit said Umesh was a simple selection considering his rich experience and ability to swing the ball in the powerplay.
In Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, India’s bowling lacked bite in Asia Cup. Now with Bumrah back and full strength squad picked, Rohit is happy with the look of the bowling department.
The captain was particularly impressed with Arshdeep Singh’s run in Asia Cup.
“The way Arshdeep bowled was very impressive. The way he landed yorkers in extreme pressure in his first year of international cricket, it is not easy.
“He is a very smart guy and keeps things simple. We needed a left arm seamer and he has done well in IPL and then he came here and has done well. We always wanted variety in our attack and we have that now.”