Captain Rohit Sharma has rebutted claims that the team played conservative cricket which led to their lack of success in T20 World Cups after their triumph in the inaugural edition in 2007. “We haven’t got the results in the World Cups but that doesn’t mean we were playing bad cricket for so many years,” Rohit said in Port of Spain on Thursday.
“I don’t agree that we were playing conservative cricket. If you lose an odd game in the World Cup, it seems we were doing things wrong and we didn’t take chances. But if you look (at it), we won probably 80 per cent (71 per cent) of our games leading into the World Cup. If you are conservative, you won’t win these many games.”
Rohit, however, admitted that the players have now been given the freedom to “play freely” and called for patience in their quest for success. “Because,” he reasoned, “if you play freely, you will get the performances.” “It’s just that we are trying to do something new. With time, everyone has to change. We are changing and those on the outside should also change the way they think.” Rohit said the players have been told to bat as if they were playing for their franchises or state teams.
“We can talk about technique and all during the preparation but in the match, players should be given the freedom,” he said. “We are telling them to play the way they play for their franchise or state. There they don’t take much pressure, so here also they need to do the same.” The Team India captain felt the appointment of mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton could “make a difference”.
“I think his inclusion in the squad will help all of us. He will definitely bring the mental side of the game into the picture. He has worked with the Indian team before. He knows a lot of our players as well, he has worked with them closely. “The mental side of the game, as we know, is very, very important. With his experience, with his ideology, I think it’s going to help.”