In the previous years, Rohit Sharma dropped from his opening slot for Mumbai Indians to tend to the shaky middle-order. But this season, with the World Cup soon to follow the IPL, the Indian team’s specialist opening batsman will open the batting for the franchise.
“This year, I will open the batting for all the games. That is for sure,” said Sharma here on Tuesday at Mumbai Indians’ pre-season media interaction.
Sharma said that the decision was primarily keeping the quadrennial cricket extravaganza in mind. “World Cup is one of the factors. Also keeping in mind that this is where I bat when I play for India. And, that is where I have got a lot of success off late.
“The team does understand that and as a team, the composition of players we have right now, we have got some experience in the middle-order and that allows me to go and bat at the top of the order,” said the 31-year-old captain of Mumbai Indians, which has won IPL an unprecedented three times.
Sharma had a decent 2015 World Cup campaign in Australia when it preceded the IPL. He led Mumbai Indians to their second title win on return then. This time, though, it is all about being in match practice with keeping the global event in mind.
“I spoke to players in the Indian team and they say they want to play lot of games to stay in touch. You take them away from the game and they lose the touch, and it takes a little bit of time to come back to form. The players like to be in touch and play. The individuals are very smart and know when to take rest. Communication is very important and they are doing that,” said Sharma.
Sharma said that it was going to be a challenge to keep the intensity going through the IPL and going into the World Cup.
“We have constantly been on the road for the last 3-4 years and we have played a lot of back-to-back cricket series. It depends on the individual. You have to listen to your body at the end of the day. If the body tells take a rest, then take a rest or if it can continue, then you continue. Keeping World Cup in mind, that is the priority.
“At the moment, though, we are here for the biggest tournament in the world and that is our priority as well. It is not just me but the other guys as well. We need to monitor and see how they stand and how they respond. Keeping everything in mind, we will take decisions collectively on each individual,” said Sharma.