Indian ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma said that it is great for him personally that India start their ODI series against New Zealand in Mumbai. Rohit hails from the city and has climbed the pecking order playing with the Mumbai Ranji team, even scoring a triple century for them in 2009 against Gujarat. “Its always great coming and playing in front of your home crowd where you have played all your age group cricket,” said Rohit in a press conference on Friday.
“It makes you feel good about yourself. (There is) No better way to start the series (than) at your home ground so its great that I personally start this New Zealand series here,” he said. The series starts on Sunday, October 22 with the first match being played at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. India had only last week concluded their T20I series against Australia that was preceded by an ODI rubber. While India won the latter 4-1, the T20I series was 1-1 draw with the last match being washed out.
According to Rohit, it is good that there hasn’t been too big a gap between the two series and that India would like to churn out performances such as the one against Australia on a consistent basis. “We would like to continue where we left against Australia,” said Rohit, “Good thing is that there has hardly been any time between the Australia series and New Zealand series so the guys are in their groove. I hope we put up the same performance as we did in the last series against Australia.”
India have been on a bit of a role in since New Zealand have last visited in 2016. After beating them, India beat England and Australia and reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy. The then beat West Indies and Sri Lanka qaway from home before the Australia series.
Ready for Boult
Rohit also admitted that facing Trent Boult would be a challenge for India due to a dearth of experience for the hosts batting against left-arm seamers. At the same time, he also expressed confidence that it won’t be something that the batsmen cannot handle. “The last time India had a left-arm seamer was a long time back,” said the Indian vice-captain, “I think Zaheer Khan was the last who played for India in ODI format. Our team is used to that now and we have performed exceedingly well. For us as batters, it will be a challenge to face a left-arm seamer and Trent Boult being one of their prime left-arm fast bowlers, it will be a huge challenge for all the batters to come good against [him]. We played them last time and we know what they’ll bring to the table and we know what they’re capable of as a bowling unit. It’s not just about one left-arm seamer, I guess their complete bowling unit we have to look at.”
Growth of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal
“They are not afraid to flight the ball and go for wickets, which is important in this format, especially because they bowl in middle overs. The grounds are not so big here, and sometimes you will be in two minds whether you want to flight the ball or restrict the opposition. But they understand the game,” Rohit said, “And if they feel that they should not go for wickets, just try and restrict, bowl a few dot balls and create pressure, they are ready to do that as well.”
Rohit admitted that India are dependent on Kuldeep and Chahal to put pressure on the opposition in the middle overs. “For us as a team, we really rely on those two guys to do the job in the middle overs. And they have done exceedingly well in the last series. We saw that it was pretty evident that whenever the ball was given to them, they came up with some or the other tactical plan and got rid of their set batsman which is very important,” said Rohit.
He also pointed out how well Kuldeep and Chahal complemented each other. “The best is, like I said, they complement each other. They share their tactics and what one feels about his bowling. And they have spoken about that I think. And they do that while they bowl. So it gives them confidence,” he said.