Captain Rohit Sharma believes the new fearless approach adopted by India in the shortest format will result in occasional failures but disagrees that they were playing “conservative” cricket during last year’s T20 World Cup in UAE.
Rohit said the new approach provides more freedom to players, which has yielded success after the disappointing World Cup campaign, where India were eliminated in the league stage.
“We didn’t get the result from the last World Cup but that doesn’t mean we played bad cricket all these years and I don’t agree we were playing conservative cricket,” Rohit said ahead of the five-match T20 series against the West Indies which begins here on Friday.
“If you lose one or two matches in the World Cup, it feels like we were doing this and that, we were not taking our chances. It’s not like that. If you look at the overall games that we have played leading into the World Cup, we won 80 per cent of our games.
“If we were conservative, how can we win so many matches? That’s fine that we lost in the World Cup, didn’t qualify but that happens. That doesn’t mean we are playing with fear, not playing openly.
“Lately, we haven’t made any changes, we are doing the same things but the players have been given some freedom to go out and play their own game. Play openly, no need to take any undue pressure, if you play freely, performances will show.”
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Rohit said change is the only constant and the Indian team and its fans too have to move on with time.
“There are bound to be occasional failures in the way we are playing cricket now, results will not be in our favour but there is no problem in it because we are trying to learn something and trying something different.
“So, there are scope for mistakes but that doesn’t mean the boys are bad, the team is bad. It’s just that we are trying to do something new. Everyone has to change with time, we are changing so I think people sitting outside also need to change their thinking.”
The India skipper said the team for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia is more or less settled with only a few spots up for grabs.
“There are a few spots in the team which we need to fill and we know what we need to do fill those spots. We are trying to address these things in all these matches we are playing now.”
“Every series that you play is crucial. Of course there are World Cups to look after but every series you play for India is crucial because there is something to look forward to all the time. What we achieved in England was special but that’s done and we just want to look forward now.”
Rohit said that complacency has no place in any game and their mantra is to keep getting better with every passing day.
“Not to get complacent about what has happened in the past… It’s very simple for us, we just need to focus on the present day and try and get the job done. It’s important for us to stay in the moment, try and see how we can get the job done.
“The goal for this team has always been how we can keep getting better as a team everyday,” he said.
The skipper welcomed the move to rope in Paddy Upton as the team’s mental conditioning coach.
“He (Upton) has got so much experience working with different teams at different places. His inclusion in the squad will definitely help all of us. He will bring the mental side of the game into the picture,” Rohit said.
“He has worked with the Indian team before for few years. He was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning team. He has had some success in franchise cricket as well. The mental side of the game is very important.”