Rohit Sharma’s explosive batting has unsettled opponents during India’s 10-match winning streak at the World Cup, but the skipper said on Saturday he would rein himself in if the team need a different approach in the final against Australia.
Rohit has scored 550 runs in the tournament – including 354 in the first 10 overs of matches – but the powerful right-hander has shown he can drop anchor too, as he did in his 101-ball 87 against England after India slipped to 40-3 inside 12 overs.
“Before the start of the World Cup, I wanted to play in a certain manner. I had no idea if it’s going to come off… what if it doesn’t? I had plans for both,” Rohit told reporters in a packed press conference room ahead of Sunday’s final.
“For me what’s important is because I start the innings, there’s a bit of freedom to go and express myself. But in that game against England I had to change my game a bit once we lost a few wickets. I’m prepared to do that as well.
“That’s what the experienced player needs to do. You can’t just think you have to play one way. You have to adapt quickly knowing the situations that are there in front of you. I’m prepared to do whatever I feel is right for the team.”
Rohit refused to be drawn on whether his team had developed an aura similar to Australia’s all-conquering 2003 side that outclassed India in the final in Johannesburg to lift the third of their five World Cup titles.
“Look, I don’t believe in that aura. You have to come to the ground well and play good cricket,” said Rohit, whose side are firm favourites for a third crown.
“It’s important to have confidence in such games. We played 10 matches well. But again, if you make mistakes tomorrow, then whatever good work you did in those 10 matches, it gets wasted.”
Australia lost their opening two games but went on an eight-game winning run to arrive in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium for the title clash in red-hot form.
Rohit stressed the importance of keeping calm and staying true to the nonchalant approach that India began their campaign with against Australia in Chennai.
“Just going there and keeping it nice and easy, calm,” Rohit said, a mindset he also needed in his news conference, which was interrupted multiple times by mobile phones ringing.
“I’d said it’ll be nice to win the World Cup. In the same tone, I want to say it now again. It’ll be nice to do it because we’ve worked really hard for it.
“We don’t want to get too excited… we don’t want to feel too much pressure about it. A balanced atmosphere and balanced thinking at this stage will be really nice.”