At least three issues are on Rohit’s platter going into the World Cup. One is the form of the players like Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, who are making a comeback.
“Coming back from an injury is never easy,” Rohit said. “He (Harshal) missed cricket for close to two months. Whenever bowlers go through an injury phase and come back, it’s never easy, so we’ve not really judged him on how he has performed in these three games because we know his quality.
“He has bowled some tough overs for us in the past, and also for his franchise. We believe in his quality, whatever he has as a bowler. It’s important to keep showing that faith and I’m pretty sure he’s also trying to rectify those mistakes. He’s working hard on his bowling. As I see, in the nets, whenever we do have our training sessions, he’s always working on his skills which is what you want. You want players to go out and keep improving. We talk about it all the time; we can see that happening. So, I’m pretty sure he’s not far from his best,” Rohit, who has had his fair share of injury problems over the years, said.
The other area is the death-overs where the Indians suffered in this series. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has come under tremendous pressure, but Rohit said the bowler has enough quality to overcome this slump. “It’s important we give him that space. Because when you have a guy like him in the team and the quality that he brings, we know that he’s had more good days than bad days honestly speaking, in the last so many years we’ve seen. Yes, of late it’s been not the kind of performance that he would want, but that can happen to any of the bowlers.
“You can see the opposition as well, it’s not easy to bowl at the death. But we’ve been working on some execution plans and hopefully we can give him more options to bowl in the death and then he’ll be as good as he was before. I don’t think he’s short in confidence, whenever I speak to him the confidence is there, you can have bad games but it’s important to come back from that, and we want him to come back as quickly as possible, because he’s bowled those difficult overs for us in the past,” the skipper said while lauding his bowler.
“He’s done it, it’s there in his mind, it’s not that he will completely forget what he’s done as a bowler in the past, it’s just that he needs to bring that out confidently and things will happen for him. As a team, as management, we believe in his ability, we know a guy like him who more often than not has done the job for us can have a few bad games. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have quality anymore. He definitely has it in him, just that for us it’s time for us to show faith in him and keep backing his skillset, what he wants to execute,” Rohit added.
The third aspect is the Dinesh Karthik vs Rishabh Pant debate. The Indians have been alternating between the two in the Asia Cup and this series. “I wanted both of these guys to have a number of games under their belt before the World Cup. When we went to the Asia Cup both of these guys were in the fray to play all games,” he said. “But I just feel that Dinesh needs a little more game time. He hardly got to bat (this series). Just maybe three balls. So that’s not enough time,” he added.
“Pant also needs game time obviously. But looking at how this series was it was important for me to just stick to that consistent batting lineup,” Rohit quickly added.
He said Karthik and Pant’s inclusion in the playing XI will depend upon the situation. “I don’t know what we’re gonna do against South Africa. We just need to go and see their bowling, what sort of bowling lineup they’ll play with, and who are the best guys for us who can handle that bowling lineup. It all depends on that. We want to be flexible in our batting. So if the situation or if the thing demands that we need a left-hander, we will bring in a left-hander if we need a right-hander, we will continue to do that.
“But we’ll try and manage those guys pretty carefully. I do understand that they need game time before the World Cup but there are only 11 players you can play, unfortunately,” the skipper said.