New Delhi, Aug 7: Rivalries in sport bring out the voice of inspirational patriotism amongst its followers and the truest form of this patriotism can be found when 'The Greatest Rivalry' takes place between India and Pakistan at this year's Asia Cup 2022.
With Virat Kohli handing over the reins of the Indian Captaincy to Rohit Sharma, it's the Hitman's job to lead the defending champions India to another consecutive Asia Cup trophy, reasserting their dominance over their Asian counterparts.
Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show 'Follow the Blues', Team India captain Rohit Sharma spoke about his team's preparation for the highly anticipated Asia Cup 2022. "We've made it very clear after the T20 World Cup in Dubai, where we didn't qualify for the finals -- that we felt there needed to be a change in our attitude and approach in how we play our game," he said.
With Team India adopting a more aggressive batting style in the past few months, the Indian Captain spoke about how the squad is preparing mentally and physically for the upcoming challenges of the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup.
"If the message is clear from the captain and the coach about where the team is trying to head, then the individuals will definitely try to do that. For that to happen they need freedom and clarity and that's what we are trying to do. We are trying to give them as much freedom as possible."
When asked about his experience captaining the team with so many young leaders, Rohit Sharma said, "I know it's very exciting honestly to create so many leaders around the team because it's always a good sign. And you want the guys to handle the pressure, who understand the game and know each other really well. And when they are leading the team, all these things can happen."
With Team India having six different captains represent them in the past eight months, it is clear to see that the leadership around the squad has really shone through. "I think it's very important to have that leadership, but obviously, you know we play the IPL and it's a 10- team tournament. So there will be 10 captains which at some stage will be a part of the Indian team as well. You know, I think it's fantastic because honestly, my job is much lesser as these guys understand everything pretty well. So, it's just about if someone's having a thought, how am I going to back up that thought. For me as captain that is my role and that is what I'm trying to do," he said.
With Rahul Dravid as the coach, the Indian Captain has great guidance from one of the legends of the game and Rohit Sharma believes that his support is crucial for Team India's performance in the upcoming tournaments. "With Rahul bhai I have played some games with him as he was my first captain when I made my ODI debut. So, obviously, we have some kind of understanding. I have spent a lot of time in the NCA when I was injured and he was there. We had regular chats happening all the time and he was closely following my game as well," he said.
The 'Hitman' also spoke about the importance of having a coach who shares a common vision and belief with the team. "When he (Dravid) became a coach here, we met and sat together in a room for a while and decided how we want to take this thing forward and he was pretty much on the same thought process as to what I was thinking. That made it a little easier for me to give out a clear message to the boys because we don't want to create confusion among the group; and of course, we wanted him to change the style of cricket as well. We wanted to play a certain way in all three formats and he was ready to accept all of that."