Hyderabad: Amidst the all-important Test series against England kicking off at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, India captain Rohit Sharma said they have had clear conversations with the selection committee about backing the players doing a good job for the team in the next six months.
India are now playing their third series of the ongoing World Test Championship cycle with five matches against England, with an eye to grab crucial points and solidify their position in the points table. They also have matches against Bangladesh and New Zealand at home later in the year, followed by touring Australia for a five-game series.
“It’s very basic. We want to win games, want to win championships, want to win overseas. Every championship you lose hurts. But I believe the process towards reaching the final is the most important thing. We are in the process of creating such a good team, a good environment, and a culture within the group where people will not fear too much about their place, not their personal scores. That is what I want to bring in. It takes time.
“These guys have grown up looking at numbers, like I want to score a 100 today. But it will take time. All these boys are young. A lot of those guys have played in maidans and their coaches have always told them go out and score a 100. The focus is always on that 100. But we are trying to keep the team’s goal first here. After that whatever happens, happens.
“We are there to back you. We have had clear conversations with the selectors that if the guy is doing the job for the team, we will back him. As simple as that. Because that player needs the freedom to go out there and execute what the team management is asking. Conversations have happened with the selectors quite clearly about this, so we’ll see how the next six months go for us,” said Rohit in a conversation with broadcasters JioCinema.
Asked about his journey as India’s all-format captain since taking over the job, Rohit admitted it was draining, but leading the team has been a great honour for him and is optimistic about winning a global title in the future.
“It is quite draining. But that’s what you sign up for when you take the responsibility. When the opportunity came for me to lead the team, I was excited like everyone else would be. In the past 7-8 years, I’ve been part of that decision-making core group and vice-captain. When you are a vice-captain you know that you could be handed over the captaincy at any point.
“Plus, I also led in Virat’s absence a few times. But obviously it’s a huge honour to be captaining your country. Many stalwarts have captained the team, so to be alongside them, it’s a great honour, it’s a great privilege. The last three years have been great. Except winning the finals of ICC trophies, we have won everything.
“That’s one thing we’ve not been able to accomplish, but I think time will come. All we need to do is stay in a good mindset, not worry too much about the past, because you can’t change the past. What you can change is what is going to come next, so all of us are quite focused on that. We are playing our hearts out. There’s a culture of playing in this team that I was focusing on and am still focusing on.”
The right-handed opener also believes that numbers are overrated and wants to take off the pressure of statistics from the players. “I wanted to bring about certain change, players going out there and playing with a lot of freedom. I wanted to take the statistical side of cricket out of this team. People are not looking at numbers, people are not looking at their personal scores, just playing the game.
“Numbers will take care of themselves if we play well, if the mind is clean and clear and we don’t go out there only looking for a 50 or 100. Obviously, these numbers are good, and they will happen, but you take that out of your mind, just focus on the game and enjoy the atmosphere within the group, enjoy the camaraderie we’ve created in the group. For me, that’s the most important thing.
“Numbers are overrated. In India we do talk a lot about numbers and all of that. I got five hundreds in the 2019 World Cup, but we still lost. The hundreds don’t matter. I may think about them may be 20 years later after I retire, but what did we get? I wanted the trophy. If you don’t win trophies, I don’t think those 5-6 hundreds make too much sense. Team sport is all about winning trophies, not about individual accomplishments.”