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regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Indian Premier League: Rohit Sharma takes guard for ’27 Cup, silences retirement talks

The scars of India’s heartbreaking loss in the 2023 World Cup final against Australia seem to be still fresh in Rohit’s consciousness

Our Bureau, PTI New Delhi Published 13.04.24, 08:37 AM
Rohit Sharma during IPL 2024

Rohit Sharma during IPL 2024 The Telegraph

Retirement is not on Rohit Sharma’s mind at present, rather the 36-year-old wants to have a crack at the 2027 ODI World Cup after the trophy slipped through his hands last year.

“I haven’t really thought about retirement. But, I don’t know where life takes you. I am playing well at the moment and I am thinking of continuing for a few more years. I really want to win that World Cup,” he said in a YouTube chat show Breakfast With Cha­mpions, which was also at­tended by British pop singer Ed Sheeran.

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“The 50-over World Cup is the actual World Cup. We have grown up watching the 50-over World Cup. There is the World Test Championship final happening at Lord’s in 2025. Hopefully, we will make it there,” added Rohit, who will be leading the side in this year’s T20 World Cup in June.

The scars of India’s heartbreaking loss in the 2023 World Cup final against Australia seem to be still fresh in Rohit’s consciousness.

“It was happening in Ind­ia... We played well until that final. When we won the semi-final, I thought, we were just one step away from it (victory). I thought, what’s that one thing that can make us lose that final, and honestly, nothing came to my mind,”
he said.

“We were all supposed to have one bad day and I guess that was our bad day. We’d ticked all the boxes, we were playing good cricket, confidence was there... But that was one bad day and the Aussies had a very good day. I don’t think we played bad cricket in that final,” he noted.

Test of mettle

The captain, however, counts India’s recent 4-1 triumph in the home Test series against England as a significant achi­evement and doesn’t believe that a home victory, even over a top side, is lesser when compared to an overseas triumph.

“You might enter the field with a plan, but when you see things moving differently, you have to change it. When we played recently against England, we came across a different team, they were playing cricket differently. Each batter came and challenged us. So, we had to change our mindset.

“It is difficult to win away from home. They make life difficult when you are away. It is the same for other countries as well because it is
not easy when they come to India. You want to take advantage of that (home conditions),” he explained.

On his favourite mome­nt in Test cricket, the eleg­ant right-hander picked
his maiden hundred as the most cherished one. Batting at No. 6, Rohit made a 301-ball 177 against the West Indies in Calcutta.

“India is all about scoring that hundred and then the crowd erupts... My first hundred was in a Test match in Calcutta. It was Sachin Tendulkar’s 199th Test, so the
stadium was packed, some 70,000 people in the stadium. Probably it was (the best moment),” he said.

‘IPL, just like EPL’

Rohit is one of the few players who has played the IPL right from its inaugural edition
in 2008.

Observing how the tournament has grown over the years, Mumbai Indians’ Rohit said: “IPL has grown so much in the last decade or so and every team is now competitive. I don’t think there is any weak team in the IPL. It is something like the EPL first division where any team can beat any team.

“But it was not like that when it started off. Now, there is so much technology invol­ved, people are aware what gaps are to be filled, so they get the right players from the auction etc.”

Rohit also shared his memory of playing alongside the legendary Shane Warne in the IPL. “He (Warne) had got a superb cricketing brain.”

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