Mumbai Indians might have lost all five of their matches in the first leg of the IPL in UAE, but skipper Rohit Sharma is confident of turning the tables around at home when they take on unbeaten Kings XI Punjab in their first game here on Saturday.
“We all know it has been a disappointing start. Certain things we did not do right. We took each game at a time and not looked too far ahead. We committed a lot of mistakes right from the first game against Kolkata (Knight Riders) till the last game against Sunrisers (Hyderabad) and kept repeating them,” said Rohit ahead of Saturday’s game at the Wankhede Stadium.
“That can happen, it’s a new team. It’s a different challenge now. We have come to Bombay (Mumbai), we know the conditions here. It’s a fortress. Last year we won eight out of eight. We will try and keep that record intact.
“It will be a challenge as we will be playing the table toppers. The crowd here is very enthusiastic. It will be an extra advantage for us,” he added.
Admitting that the batting has been a let-down so far, Rohit, who himself did not been score too many runs in United Arab Emirates, feels all the key batsmen know the wicket here and should do well.
“Batting has not been up to the mark. We are disappointed the way we batted. Shot selection wasn’t that great. We have come to familiar conditions and all our batsmen know how to bat on this wicket and I hope for a better batting performance from all our batters.
“All I can ask my team members is not to repeat the same mistakes of the last five games. If we keep doing the right things I am sure things will fall in place. The last game we came pretty close to victory, but unfortunately it wasn’t our day. We have got the right combination, the players, only thing is we are not executing our plans. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a critical game, which we have to win,” said Rohit.
Rohit said his team was aware of the uphill task of winning eight of their remaining nine matches, if they want to make it to the four-team play-off stage.
“We just have to win eight games out of nine (to qualify). It will be a difficult task but as I said we don’t want to think too far ahead. Tomorrow (Saturday) is an important game. We want to win that and then think about the next game. That will be our strategy,” he said.
Talking about the pitches in UAE, Rohit said the wickets were a bit two-paced but it was no excuse for his team’s poor performance.
“Wickets were slightly two-paced but generally were very similar to the wickets here in India. I can’t blame the conditions. We have to take the blame. We played poor cricket but I want to stay positive. We want to be focused and things could turn around,” he said.
Rohit agreed the team was missing the services of Sachin Tendulkar, the player, but said it would have to move on.
“We are missing him (Tendulkar) in the dressing room and it is a blow for us. The crowd here will also miss him. As far as the team is concerned we are used to it now. Last year also he missed out the last few games, including the final. We know he’s gone now and we have to move forward. But we will miss him and the crowd will miss him specially.”
Rohit said former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, who has joined the team at the fag-end of the UAE leg in an advisory capacity, would be a positive influence in getting them back to winning ways.
“He has got a very good experience on how to win a championship. He has won two championships (World Cups) for Australia (as captain). His inputs are very important,” said Rohit.