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‘He will be a big miss for us’, Rohit Sharma On ODI World Cup Star

Rohit said that it is tough to play in South Africa as a batter, but he is looking forward to that challenge.

Edited By : News24 Desk | Updated: Dec 25, 2023 19:29 IST
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Rohit-Shami
Rohit-Shami

Ahead of India’s first Test against South Africa at Centurion, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said that veteran pacer Mohammed Shami will be a big miss for the team in the series and pointed out that every bowler, including the spinners, will have a crucial role to play on South African surfaces, which are high on bounce and assist seamers.

India will kickstart the red-ball leg of the South Africa tour with the first Test at Centurion on Tuesday. After drawing the T20I series 1-1 and winning the ODI series 2-1, Men in Blue will be aiming to win their first-ever Test series in South Africa. This will also be the first international assignment of seniors like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah following the loss to Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup finals.

In the pre-match press conference, Rohit said that Indian seamers have earned a lot of respect over the last five to seven years with their performances overseas and added that though Shami will be a big miss due to an injury, the team has confidence in bowlers who will fill up his shoes.

Also Read: SA vs IND: Sanjay Bangar Explains Team India’s Winless Streak In South Africa

“Our seamers have earned that respect, because of how they perform in overseas conditions. For the last five to seven years, they have done well in Australia, England and South Africa. Even in South Africa, we won the first Test last year but came close in the next two matches. They have pulled their weight in and given us what we expect from them. Shami will be a big miss, his experience and what he has done for our team over the years. Someone will come to fill his place, it is not going to be easy, but we have a lot of confidence in whoever takes his place,” said Rohit.

Talking about the conditions, the skipper said that the bowlers get a lot of help due to bounce and lateral movement that fast bowlers get and not a day goes without facing challenges in South Africa.

“Bowlers dominate here a lot due to pace and lateral movement seamers get. As the game goes on, cracks open in the surface and it gives invariable bounce. Every day has its own challenges. As the game goes on, it gets tougher. But these are things you want to do in your career, playing against the top teams in difficult conditions. We have had a decent time preparing for the series,” said Rohit.

“Every bowler will have a massive role, even spinners. Even when there is not much help for them, they have to do a job to contain the run flow. Seamers have done the job for us here. They play a second-fiddle role as spinners control runs and create pressure on batters. We have two experienced spinners who know what is required. There is not much talking we need to do in terms of strategy. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are also attacking with the ball,” he added.

Also Read: SA vs IND: Rohit Sharma Hints T20 World Cup Return Ahead Of Boxing Day Test

Rohit said that it is tough to play in South Africa as a batter, but he is looking forward to that challenge.

“As a batter, it is a challenge to come and perform in South Africa as a batter. It is one of the toughest places to be as a batter. I was not here last time, but looking forward to that challenge, to do my job and see where it takes us,” said the skipper.

Rohit said that the two-match series is extremely important for the team but he does not know if winning it could make up for the World Cup loss. He also said that the team got a lot of encouragement from outside following the World Cup loss.

“It is a very important two Test match series in terms of where we stand as a team. We have never won a series here. It is a great opportunity for us to do well here. We came close the last two times we toured here. We come here with a lot of confidence, to achieve what no one has achieved in this part of the world. This gives us a lot of encouragement to do our best,” said Rohit.

“The way we played till the final (of World Cup), you expected us to go an inch further. But we could not do it and it was hard to take. We had worked hard for this over the years. It is hard to come out of a loss like that. But there is so much cricket happening, you need to find strength and look forward. It took me a lot of time personally. We got a lot of encouragement from the outside world and it encouraged me to get up and do my job.”

“I do not know if we can compensate (for World Cup loss). We have been coming for years and not won here. It would be great if we win here though. A World Cup is World Cup, there are no comparisons,” concluded Rohit.

The skipper said that the youngsters coming here for the first time are looking forward to the series with excitement.

On KL Rahul keeping the wickets in this series, for the first time ever in Tests, Rohit said that the middle order batter is keen on taking the challenge and his experience of South African conditions is good for the team.

“Players go through transformations in their career. Not everyone sticks to one single role throughout their career. Same with KL Rahul. The way he kept the wickets in the World Cup, it was quite pleasing. He has been working hard and is keen to take up that role. It gives us an option to play a solid batter in the middle order. He came last time here, scored a century. He will be playing in the middle order. He bats really well, understands the game really well and is experienced. I am not sure how long he wants to keep, but he is keen to take that role right now,” he said.

The skipper said that even though playing on South African pitches is challenging, the batters will have to look to score runs instead of going into survival mode.

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“When you play on pitches with bounce and seam, when the ball touches the bat, it is good for the batters. When you apply yourself, understands your own shots and their bowling, making runs gets much easier. But you are never set because the ball keeps doing tricks all the time. Those who have played here, have shared their experiences with the new ones. Now all we have to do is go out, create a gameplan and play. You will have to look to score runs since looking for survival only would not take you anywhere,” said Rohit.

India’s squad for Tests: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (Wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami*, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna.

Source: ANI

First published on: Dec 25, 2023 07:29 PM IST

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