India and Pakistan start T20 World Cup campaign on Sunday in Melbourne.
“That’s something we’ve been talking about for a while, like when you go on big tours, you need to prepare well, especially when you travel outside India. You need to have time in hand to prepare the way you want to prepare, because it takes time,” Rohit said on the eve of the game against Pakistan at the MCG. “A lot of the guys are not used to playing in foreign conditions, be it Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, and all those countries. It’s always nice to have time in hand, and this was a conscious effort from the team management, BCCI, that come the big tournament, we want to have time in hand to prepare ourselves, and the talk of having time in hand started right after the last World Cup.
“We said, we know where the World Cup is happening, and we made a very conscious decision of going to Australia a little earlier than expected because we were supposed to play the series against South Africa which unfortunately we all had to miss to prepare for this big event. That is something that was happening in the background right after the World Cup. We know how key the preparation is. A lot of the guys [Suryakumar Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel and Deepak Hooda] who are part of this team have not been to Australia, so that was also one of the reasons we wanted to come here early.
“We had a great time in Perth. We were there for nine days, and then we came to Brisbane. We prepared, we played a couple of practice games in Perth just to get used to the conditions, the pitches. Obviously you can’t travel all around Australia and play on all pitches, but we could get whatever we could get. I thought Perth was the right time for us to start. Obviously, the time difference is not too much, also, so you can easily get acclimatised to the time zone, and that was also one of the reasons. I thought the way we went about the entire Perth leg was good for us. We could specifically focus on certain things when it comes to batting, and the bowlers could work on certain things for all this unique time, and we were lucky enough to get that time in hand to prepare ourselves and come here to Melbourne.”
“We’ve been going through a lot of numbers all these days about how people have been successful in Australia. Although it’s a different time, not a lot of cricket has been played during this month in Australia, but it was important for us to get some kind of data around what happens in October-November in Australia and what are the kind of people who have been successful here,” Rohit said.
“We saw a lot of things about how you need to be successful firstly as a team and then as an individual, as well. We went through all of it, but obviously, like I said, it’s a bit of both. Sometimes you just feel that ‘this guy is bowling pretty well, you need to just get him to play the game; he’s in good form’. On the other side, you will look at the matchups, as well. It’s a bit of both. On that given day, whatever we feel is the right playing 11, we will go by that. I certainly want to keep my mind open on that when it comes to playing 11. We don’t want to get stuck with one particular way of making your playing 11. We want to be open about it.
“That’s how we have prepared all our guys, as well. The message was given long way before we came here that if we need to change one or two players for the matchups for what sort of conditions we are playing in, guys will be ready for it. So it’s not a last-minute thing where we are changing the players. This is the talk that has happened in the team long way back, and guys are ready for it.”
“I do not want to say pressure, but it is definitely a challenge for us to come out on top in ICC tournaments. Yes, there has not been the performance what we would like to show in ICC tournaments, especially in big games, but I believe the opportunity always comes and we have the opportunity now to come here and do well so I think we will have to focus on certain things to get that right,” he said.
“Yes, it is a challenge to not win an ICC trophy for nine years, if I am not wrong. The last one we won was in 2013 [Champions Trophy]. It has been a challenge with the team like us, there are a lot of expectations, we are certainly little disappointed with that. This tournament gives us that chance to change it and do well. We certainly know we have to play our best cricket to do well here. We need to take it one game at a time, and then go ahead.”