India T20I captain Rohit Sharma feels that the players need assurance and clarity about their roles for going out and expressing themselves freely in the T20 format. Rohit added that he and coach Rahul Dravid will look to build a right template, with the next T20 World Cup less than a year away.
India will play a three-match T20I series against New Zealand, beginning Wednesday, November 17 in Jaipur. This will be the starting point for Rohit Sharma as a full-time T20I captain of the national team while, Rahul Dravid begins his head-coach tenure.
India didn't have the best of T20 World Cup campaigns, as they failed to make it to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. As the team looks forward to a fresh start, Rohit looks forward to help his players with role clarity and security to play fearlessly. With Dravid at his support, he looks forward to giving players a long run and instilling confidence in them.
"It's one of the important aspects of the format where people have assurance of taking chances in the middle," Rohit said in a virtual press conference on eve of the T20I series against New Zealand. "If it comes off, it comes off, if it doesn't, then what happens. That's where both of us will need to play a huge role and part in giving an individual that assurance of going out and expressing himself," he added.
"It's important, especially in this format, that sometimes you just need to go out there and play fearlessly and while doing that, there are chances that you might not always be successful because it's a short format and you're always challenged. The pressure is always there. We certainly will keep an eye on that aspect; that's where the entire set-up will play a big part that wherever that individual bats, and how we want him to bat, goes and does the job for us. If he doesn't then we instill confidence in him that we have full faith in you, just go and do the role for the team. As long as they're trying to do the role for the team, we are happy."
India have been impressive in bilateral T20I series in recent years, having won six of their last seven. The team had clean swept New Zealand 5-0 in their own backyard in early 2020. However, the success hasn't been replicated in multi-nation tournaments.
Rohit felt that the team needs to find the right template playing in T20Is, and that players performing their role in the team is crucial for overall success.
"Template is a very important one and we need to set it right," Rohit said. "We've got some time to do that. India has been brilliant in this format, it's just that we haven't won the ICC tournament. We've played well and performed well as a team. Of course, there are little holes we need to fill and make sure they're looked after. That will be the biggest challenge we'll have as a team.”
"There are holes in every team but you try and maximise what you have. I'm not going to say that we're going to follow a certain team's template. We have to create our own template, see what's best and right for your team.”
"It's important because when you compare it with Syed Mushtaq Ali or IPL, they've played differently in their franchise teams or Syed Mushtaq Ali. And when they come here they play a different tole. We strictly want to assign roles that we want them to do because at the end of the day what they do here matters. It can take a while or it can happen in a few games as well. To give them that long rope or confidence is important to perform their role to perfection. We're starting afresh after the World Cup and we've set some ideas and thoughts for this series now. Let's see how that pans out and we'll take it from there."
New Zealand, meanwhile, come on the back of an impressive T20 World Cup 2021, where they finished runners-up. They'll miss the services of regular captain Kane Williamson, who has opted out of the series, but Rohit asserted that his opponents are strong outfit regardless.
"We have to focus on every New Zealand player," he said. "They had different players who performed during the T20 World Cup. Kane Williamson will be missed by them but they have other match-winning players.”