Srinagar: Team India is one step away from lifting the Cricket World Cup 2023 title and skipper Rohit Sharma has said that team is focussed on to win title for the India legend.
India have been on a sensational unbeaten run, winning all 10 games en route to the Final against Australia.
During the press conference, Rohit Sharma pin-pointed the understated role of Rahul Dravid in India’s run as well as his own batting, while emphasizing the team’s determination to win the trophy in honour of the Indian legend.
“His [Dravid’s] role has been absolutely massive in terms of getting that clarity which I keep talking about,” Rohit stated. “It’s one thing for me to think about and another thing for the coach to not agree to certain things.
“Clearly, looking at how Rahul bhai himself has played his cricket and how I play these days is quite contrasting. For him to agree and give me that freedom and liberty to go and play like that says a lot about him.”
Under the leadership of Rohit and Dravid, India managed to make it to the semi-final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 but fell short against England.
The Indian captain glowingly spoke about how the coach has helped the team bounce back thereafter in the months leading to the 2023 World Cup.
“Also the way he has stood by the players in difficult times, especially during and after the T20 World Cup,” Rohit added. “We had a good run up until the semi-finals and then we lost. And how he reacted to certain situations and informed the players about how we want to play says a lot about him as well.
“And obviously what he has done for Indian cricket is massive. He too feels that he wants to be a part of this big occasion. It’s for us to do it for him.”
One other Indian star that has taken the tournament by storm has been Mohammed Shami. Originally not a part of India playing XI, it wasn’t until the injury to Hardik Pandya during their fourth game of the tournament against Bangladesh that Shami was drafted into the team.
Since then, the right-arm pacer has been wreaking havoc game after game and despite having played only seven games, leads the wicket-takers chart (23) heading into the final.
It was a credit to Rohit Sharma and the team management that Shami managed to hit the ground running. The captain elaborated on what the chat with Shami during the initial games, as he lauded the 33-year-old for being a thorough team man.
“It was tough for him to not play the initial part of the World Cup, looking at him being one of the senior bowlers for us,” Rohit said. “But he was there for the team. He was there to help Siraj and Bumrah in whatever ways he could. And that shows the team man that he is.
“It was very clear, we had a chat about why he missed out and everything. And then obviously on the sidelines, he was working on his bowling”.
“Now, the results are there for everyone to see how he has come back from that. That shows the kind of mental space that Shami was in before the World Cup and even now. It’s not easy not being part of the team and coming out to do the job the way he has done for us. Says a lot about him.
“When you play a team sport, people do understand why certain players miss out on certain occasions because there’s a lot that goes into getting your XI right. It depends on the conditions, the opposition and the balance that you want to create. It was just that.
“But once the opportunity opened up for him, he was ready and that we can all see with his performance.”
India will be hoping that Rohit, Shami as well as the rest of the team can produce the magic and destruction one last time. But it will certainly not be a straightforward task with Australia – one of the few teams that managed to trouble the hosts during the league stages – standing in front of them.