Rohit Sharma
File photo of Rohit Sharma

Despite being at the top of the Test side in the world, and only after England in ODIs, India are not that much successful in T20s. They are currently fifth in the ICC rankings in the shortest format of the game. As the next T20 World Cup will be played within a year, Rohit Sharma shares the focus will work on India’s bench strength.

“Of course this a format where we are trying a lot of players,” Rohit Sharma said at a press conference before the second T20I against Bangladesh in Rajkot, when he was asked why the team wasn’t performing upto the mark in the format. “The key players are not involved so we’re trying a lot of younger players in the lot, sitting on the fringe.”

“Probably that’s one of the reasons, to be honest. The other formats, we have our entire squad playing the game. You get what you want from that squad. This is a format where you can try [other players], and there’s no harm in that,” he added.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

However, during the interview, one of the reporters’ phone started ringing. Rohit got angry with that, saying “Please keep your phone on silent, boss.”

Although the incident was ended there only as he further shared many insights about the team. India have won just two T20I series so far since November 2018 and that too against tenth-ranked West Indies. After losing to New Zealand earlier this year, they lost to Australia at home and failed to win against South Africa as well. Even they lost to Bangladesh  in the first T20I in Delhi as well.

“We’ve seen a lot of players who have emerged from this format and have gone on to play ODIs and Tests. We want our bench strength to be as strong as possible so this is probably the reason why you see so many new guys coming into the fray,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we have to not win games. Winning is the priority, but again these guys will learn from it. This is how a lot of guys, including me, learnt. That’s how it happens.”

In Virat Kohli‘s absence, Rohit has been leading the side. Even MS Dhoni is also not a part of the team. Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube have earned their maiden call up whereas Navdeep Saini, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar etc have also been included in the series.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

Although the 19th over by Khaleel Ahmed went for 18 runs and that helped Bangladesh nearly seal the game in the first T20I against Bangladesh, Rohit Sharma backed his players.

“Pressure is just on the team to perform and on no particular department,” he said. “You’ve lost as a team, not lost as a bowling unit. The focus will be on the team to perform so collectively all of us need to come together. Bowlers need to come and get crucial wickets and defend the score. That’ll be the idea. We aren’t focusing on one department. We lost as a team and not as individuals.”