Rohit Sharma on Virat Kohli’s form: ‘We don’t need to discuss too much’

Rohit has come out in support of Kohli. (PC: ICC/X)

Shamik Chakrabarty & Debasis Sen

A tally of 66 runs at 11.00, with a strike-rate of 100… As India get ready for their T20 World Cup semi-final against England on Thursday, they face a Virat-sized problem.

Virat Kohli was in scintillating form in the IPL, scoring more than 700 runs and winning the Orange Cap. And his golden run as a Royal Challengers Bengaluru opener prompted the Indian team management to use him in the same capacity at the ongoing T20 World Cup. Yashasvi Jaiswal had to make way for the former India captain at the top, but the move hasn’t clicked yet.

The conditions in New York were treacherous all right, but even in the Caribbean, Kohli has struggled. With just two more matches to go in the tournament, he could well be fighting for his future in T20Is. But in the grand scheme of things, India need him to regain his run-scoring mojo in the knockouts.
Rohit Sharma was asked about his opening partner’s form at the pre-match press conference. Between the lines, the skipper suggested that it would be important to stay relaxed.

“I felt good last game, it might work for someone else,” said Rohit, referring to his blistering 41-ball 92 against Australia. He mentioned that conditions were a factor. “I know it sounds boring to talk about conditions. We want to be a smart cricket team, to go out there and swing the bat. Whether it is playing the reverse-sweep or coming down the track… We don’t need to discuss too much.”

Playing ‘total cricket’ without thinking about personal milestones has worked wonders for this Indian team. Rohit called it “bindaas” cricket. “It’s good to play bindaas cricket,” he said. “We created this environment recently. Individual scores and brilliance do not matter. The Bangladesh game was a perfect example. Only one player scored a fifty, but despite that we ended up scoring 190-plus. This is very important.”

India haven’t won an ICC trophy for more than a decade now and a question on the team’s knockout blues was due. It duly arrived. “It’s a bit of both (fear of failure and bad luck),” said Rohit. “Everyone knows at the back of the mind it’s a semi-final. (But) the entire group is in a good frame of mind.”

So far, India have handled the pressure situations well in this tournament, against Pakistan and Australia. A knockout game, though, doesn’t give a second chance. “If you think too much, you will not be able to make the right decisions,” said Rohit.