New Delhi: Having Rahul Dravid as the head coach is the most “amazing” thing to have happened to Team India, said white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma, adding that there “has been a sense of relaxation” ever since the legend took over the reins.
Rohit Sharma was recently promoted from being T20I captain to full-time white-ball skipper, replacing Virat Kohli as the ODI captain, and the stylish batter is excited about the “huge responsibility” entrusted on him by the Indian cricket board.
“Working with Rahul bhai, it was three-odd games (T20I series vs New Zealand) but it was fantastic. We have seen how he has played his cricket, hard and tough. There has been a sense of relaxation as well, because it is important to keep the atmosphere light and cheerful when you are doing the job on the field, which is so demanding,” said Sharma in a video shared by bcci.tv.
Sharma said that a demanding sport like cricket needs a relaxed atmosphere, which the former cricketer has provided.
“You need to have the atmosphere where people can relax and chill around. It’s been a little while but I have had so many interactions with him in the past about the game, my personal game with him. It’s good to have him on board and will be a very fruitful one for the future,” said Sharma, who will be leaving for South Africa this week with the team for a three-Test and ODI series.
Sharma reckoned that his journey of being a white-ball captain will be ‘exciting’. He also stressed on his relationship with his predecessor, Kohli, saying that he has enjoyed ‘each and every moment’ in playing together and will continue to do so.
“I am deeply honoured and grateful for the opportunity. It’s a huge responsibility and very happy about it. Looking forward to lead India in white-ball cricket, going to be an exciting journey. I have had limited opportunities to lead Team India but whenever I have got an opportunity, I have tried to keep it very simple, tried to keep one thing in common, which is clear communication to players,” said Sharma.
“I have tried making sure that they understand their roles, because that is what it is all about, understanding that role and going out there and performing that role. Because, for us, coach and captain, it is important that we have clear communication and that is what I want to do, making sure people do understand why they have been picked in the team,” added Sharma.
Sharma was all praise for Kohli and his relationship with him in the team. “He has kept the team in a situation when there is no looking back. Those five years that he led the team, he led from the front every time, we stepped on to the park, and there was clear grit and determination to win every game… that was the message to the entire squad. We have had a great time playing under him (Kohli) and I have played a lot of cricket with him, I have enjoyed each and every moment, I will still continue to do that.”
Sharma knows that the challenge for the Indian team is to claim an ICC trophy, something which has eluded them since 2013.
“There are lot of things that we need to do right before we think of end result. The last ICC trophy (Champions Trophy), we won was in 2013. Since then, we haven’t won. But I don’t see anything wrong that we did after that Champions Trophy. We played well and performed as a team but just that we couldn’t get that extra inch that we always look forward to.
“That can happen as international cricket is very demanding but that’s the challenge as we are all professionals. My message to the team will be to focus on process and not to think about the end goal.
“(A) lot of World Cups are coming and India will be eyeing to do well in (a) lot of them. Our focus is on winning the championship but there is a process that we need to follow as a group. If you need to win the championship, there are lot of other things that you first need to take care of then focus on the end goal.”
The 34-year-old believes that emerging strong from tough scenarios will be his focus point as the white-ball captain.
“How you come out of tough challenges is very important. I think, in the past we have been put in those situations before, where we have been 10/3 or 15/2 or something like that, we failed to recover. Something that we need to keep in mind moving forward, it’s one of the areas. There are other areas we need to keep improving as a team because getting better as a team doesn’t stop. We have to keep looking to do better at different departments every time we play a game.”