The Telegraph
Thursday , January 24 , 2013
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Suresh owes it to God
- Dhoni praises Rohit

Rohit Sharma, on way to his 83, on Wednesday

Mohali: Rohit Sharma has been criticised for non-performance. But the right-handed batsmen, who opened the innings on Wednesday and scored 83, has been getting his captain’s support.

That was even clearer when Mahendra Singh Dhoni, at the post-match media conference, referred to Rohit as the “most god-gifted talent” around.

The following are excerpts

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Overall, it was a very good performance… We were right on the spot with the new ball, which I feel is always important. A lot of sides like to keep wickets in hand because of the new rules… It gives them a chance to score big runs in the death overs. I think we started off well and we didn’t let them get off to a quick start.

It is a new bowling attack… They are all young bowlers… They will learn with experience. I hope they will be able to execute yorkers over the period of time. But I was happy with their performance… With the new rules in place, it is not unnatural that a team scores 100 runs in 10 overs.

I am glad Rohit scored runs because he is one of the most god-gifted talent that is around… Unfortunately, he has not been able to do well in whatever opportunities he has got… I think it’s a waste if we cannot make proper use of him. We wanted him to spend some time at the crease… We discussed the possibility of making him open the innings at the start of the series and he was ready for the challenge. I think he performed well today.

England were bowling short at that time… He has the talent to pull the ball naturally and he did that easily today. Once he got to his fifty, he converted it to a big one.

The conditions have not been typical sub-continental conditions… It was only in Kochi where the ball was turning a bit… In all the other venues, the wickets had decent bounce for the fast bowlers and all were sporting wickets. So, winning the series has been a good achievement.

Suresh Raina (MoM): I was telling Rohit to stay positive… The plan was to play the ball on its merit and to rotate the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking. It is important to back our natural instincts as well as rotate the strike. In the process, we struck a tremendous partnership.

We did take some chances… Personally, God has been really kind… I got a bit of luck in the middle. I was getting the start but was not converting them. So I made up my mind to stay till the end and look to steer the side to victory.

I have been doing well of late. It is the result of the hard work that I have been putting up at the nets… The coach (Duncan Fletcher) and my teammates always supported me.

Rohit was playing really well… He is a middle-order batsman but he showed some character to play a good innings. He must be a happy man today.

I remember Sachin (Tendulkar) told us that we need to be the No. 1 fielding side… Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane and I are all good fielders… Today, we set really good standards in the field. Trevor Penny has been working hard with the boys… And we are happy with our efforts.

There are a lot of positives coming out of the series… So, we will look to improve our performance in the future.

Rohit Sharma: I just came to know that I am opening this morning… I was well prepared because the management had already informed me that I might open the innings at some point in time. I am happy that the team management gave me the chance and I did well today.

The chase wasn’t easy. We needed to build good partnerships… I think Suresh finished off the proceedings really well.

We need a team effort and everybody chipped in with vital contributions.

It depends on the management on which position they want me to play. But I am always ready to give 100 per cent. I want to continue with the form in the future. Winning the series was really important. I am glad that I played a crucial role in today’s victory.