India's batting coach Vikram Rathour has asserted that unlike before, Rohit Sharma is finally in control when it comes to his mindset and approach in red-ball cricket. He also added that the WTC final is a World Cup final and his team knows very well what needs to be done in the all-important clash.
Rohit Sharma has always been one of the most talented batters in the cricket world. However, it took him several years before he could come into his own and start delivering, till he started opening the batting for India in the 2013 Champions Trophy. And from there onwards, there was no looking back for the Mumbaikar as he kept putting on strong performances in white-ball cricket. However, Test cricket remained one of his unfilled dreams.
But that has also changed ever since he started opening the batting in red-ball cricket. The right-hander averages 64.38 as an opener after 17 innings and has emerged as a strong force in the longer format as well. Reflecting on Rohit Sharma's start-and-stop Test career, Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour said that he's scoring runs now as he has gained control over himself and has a sorted game-plan.
"Rohit Sharma is a man finally in control of himself, his thoughts, what he wants to achieve and where he wants to head from here. Rohit always had the game and the talent to be successful even in Test cricket. What has happened lately though is he has sorted out his game-plan in this format.He consciously began working on it. Now he is much more relaxed and disciplined at the start of his innings in Test cricket, he likes to take his time to settle down and once he has, we know what he's capable of," Rathour told TOI.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant had played important roles in India's series win Down Under in their own unique ways. While Pujara sweated out the bowlers, Pant would take them to the cleaners with utmost ease. However, they formed a very productive pair and put up some great stands. When asked how he helps two such contrasting players, the former Indian batsman stated that he lets them play their natural game and encourages them to learn something from each other.
"Now, no team can have eleven Pujaras and eleven Pants, right? It always takes a Pant and a Pujara together to make a winning combination. So, what's the cue here from a coach's perspective – it is imperative to allow them to be who they are, on and off the field, and to expect a Pant to be like a Pujara and vice-versa. It's about adding that one extra element from time to time," he said.
At the start of the year, making it to the WTC finale seemed an extremely tough ask for India. But, they first defeated Australia and then clinched the home series against England comprehensively. Now, they are set to play New Zealand in the big clash from June 18. Rathour reckons that the game would be like a World final and India very well knows what they need to do against the Black Caps.
"Yes, the WTC final is a World Cup and that's how it should be looked at. Both teams have worked hard over 24 months to get here. It's the most challenging and exciting format, so it has to be a pinnacle of sorts. Going to England is always fun. The team will be heading there with a fresh mind. It's a neutral venue for both teams, so one can look forward to a good contest. It would've been great if we had more time in England but those are things outside of our control. The core of the team is in place, and with the kind of experience they have, they know what it's going to take to do well there next month."