In his first interaction with media as full-time ODI skipper, Rohit refrained from entertaining any questions on his likely elevation as Test captain, Kuldeep Yadav’s gradual integration into system post surgery and need to manage the workload properly.
“It is always important that everyone comes together and plays that role that has been given to them. What is important for us, moving forward is the role clarity of certain individuals in the squad,” Rohit said at a virtual press conference ahead of the first ODI against West Indies.
The skipper said that he would communicate with the individuals concerned.
“I think, if we can, you know, put that in place and talk to the individual about it, I think, we can get what we want from different individuals at different points in time of need,” he added.
As a successful franchise skipper and also one who hasn’t done badly whenever he has led the team in Kohli’s absence in earlier times, Rohit believes that a 0-3 loss against South Africa is an aberration and there is no need to press the panic button.
“Look, there is not a lot that we need to change, we just need to adapt to different situations of the game that has been presented in front of us.
“We have played good ODI cricket over the course of a few years, more than a few years actually. So suddenly a series defeat doesn’t mean that there is panic that we need to create,” he added.
He did admit that the South Africa series, where he wasn’t a part due to injury, was a great learning for them.
“It is just that certain understandings and certain learning we need to take in our game. The South Africa series was a great learning for us as to what we didn’t do collectively. It cannot always happen with one or two guys stepping up,” added Rohit.
“Have to take it forward from where Virat left”
Under Virat Kohli, India had a more than 70 percent success rate in ODIs which means that he just needs to carry on the good work done by the former as a leader.
“I mean, when Virat was captaining, I was the vice-captain, so we pretty much went about the team in similar fashion. I just have to take it from where he (Virat) left,” Rohit said.
“There is nothing that I need to come in and change something drastically,” he added.
He believes that most of the players know what is expected out of them.
“The team pretty much knows what is expected out of them, talking about the individuals and you want to continue the same template. There is not much we need to change, we are a good team, we are good players.
“It is just that adaptability and being open to doing different things at different points is what we have spoken (about),” he said.
Skipper doesn’t want to get Kuldeep back hurriedly
Rohit also made clear that the team management would be playing Kuldeep Yadav along with Yuzvendra Chahal.
“It is certainly on my mind to get them back together, Kuldeep specially, he hasn’t played since IPL, he was part of IPL team but then he got injured, and then he was out since then.
“He hasn’t played a lot of games after that, so we want to get him in slowly. We just do not want him to rush into things and it cannot do good for either the team and also for him,” Rohit’s statement is an indicator that he might be drafted in slowly.
Dodges questions on Test captaincy
It has been that time of the year when anybody and everybody has thrown their hats in the ring as far as Test captaincy is concerned. KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah have all expressed their desire openly and even for that matter Mohammed Shami who also is keen if he is considered a left-field selection.
“There is time for that (test captaincy), let us just focus on limited overs (series), which is in front of us. My focus is only on the West Indies series, the three ODIs and three T20s,” he seemed a trifle irritated at the question.
“In this bubble life, we have to rotate players for workload management”
The skipper however agreed that in these times of bio-bubble, the workload management is paramount and players would need to be rotated.
“This work-load management is a serious thing and it is not that we just speak about it. Considering the number of matches we are playing, staying continuously in the bubble, travelling in COVID time, it is important that we give many players a chance, keep rotating.”
One shouldn’t be looking at one or two series defeats and miss the bigger picture.
“At the end of the day, the World Cup is important for us and how to prepare for that. We need to keep players fresh and injury free, that’s most important for us. At the same time, we want to make sure we play best cricket also.
“We have good bench strength, so all the players will get a chance in these times.”