Rohit Sharma is on a roll these days, but the Indian vice-captain in limited-overs cricket says scoring hundreds means nothing if the Men in Blue dont go on to lift the trophy on July 14 at Lords.
On Saturday, Rohit scored 103 as India chased down the target of 265 against Sri Lanka with ease at Headingley, thus ending at the top spot in the points table after the league stage.
Speaking after scoring his fifth century of this year’s tournament, Rohit went on to add that numbers and all aren’t something that he gives too much importance to.
“No, not yet (biggest feat to score five hundreds). If we win the World Cup then probably I would. If not, then I can’t, because eventually winning the cup — winning the game is important, no matter how many runs you score or how many wickets you take. For us, as cricketers, it’s important to get the job done, because we all have been looking for this World Cup, which comes four years.
“You have to wait four years for this. Eventually the job for us is to go and win the finals, the semifinals before that, yes. But as long as that is not accomplished, no matter how many runs you score in the tournament or how many hundreds you get, you won’t feel satisfied,” he smiled.
“See, I’m not here for records. I’m here to play cricket. I’m here to play and score runs and lift the cup. That is what I’m here for. I’m not looking at all those things at all, honestly.”
Asked if it is true that he likes to start on a clean slate and not think of the runs he has scored so far in the tournament, Rohit said: “It is very difficult. Trust me because you’re in that fraternity where you meet so many people. They will talk about how well you’re batting, how many runs you’re getting, how many hundreds you’ve scored. But to just keep away from all that is very important. And I’m trying to do that.
“It’s fortunate that we have a bunch of guys around us who do not discuss these kind of things too much, about personal milestones. And my family is here to distract me from that. So those are the things that are keeping me away from staying in the past, because I think — and I totally believe that staying in the past is not so important than staying in the present. So I’m trying to do that. That’s what I meant when I said that in the post match, that I don’t want to think about how many ODI’s I’ve played or how many runs I’ve scored or how many hundreds I’ve got.
“I just want to stay in present, which is today, and take it from there, because every day in cricket is fresh, because you kind of don’t want to remember what has happened in the past. The past is for you guys to talk about and make things a little interesting. But for us it’s just staying in the present because it’s our duty, it’s our job just to come out fresh and get the job done again on the first day.”
Known to score big hundreds, Rohit has failed to make it large in this edition of the World Cup even though he has five tons to his name now, the most in one edition of the showpiece event. But Rohit isn’t too worried about that.
“Personally, I was disappointed because after a hundred, I’ve said it many times, you can’t — bowlers can really get you out; it’s your mistake that can cost you your wicket at that point. So I was disappointed with that, the three hundred, the last three hundreds I got, I couldn’t go on to bat as deep as I could. But I would take that hundred. And the only reason I say that is because eventually we won the game, except one against England which I think we came pretty close as well. We lost by 25 runs, I think.
“But, yes, my aim and goal is always to bat as deep as I can, because after a hundred, it’s your mistake that can cost you your wicket. That is what I have felt always. And, yeah, little disappointed with that, but I’ll make sure if, come the semis, if I’m in that situation I wouldn’t just let it go like that,” he pointed.
Asked how he approached the tournament since he seems to be on a roll, Rohit said: “I just wanted to be in good space before the start of the World Cup. And I think which I was in, because this year’s World Cup was, we all know, it was a different format, 11 games before — 10 games before you play the finals. So it’s a long tournament, a long format. And then the conditions here really matter a lot.
“So all those things put together, I personally wanted to be in good space, which I think I did pretty well. As soon as the game got away, I left everything behind and started focusing on the new day, which I think really helped me moving forward. And it did work here, but I don’t know if it’s going to work in the future as well, because every tournament is different. Every series you play is different. But here it is working for me. And that is what I was thinking before the start of the tournament, that I’ll try and be in good space, good space is by doing so many things. That is very personal. So I tried doing all of those things, which I think help and worked for me.”
Rohit also elaborated on the chat he had with Yuvraj Singh during the Indian Premier League when he was hitting the ball well, but not getting the desired results.
“I was not getting big runs. So we were just — I mean, he’s like a big brother to me. So we always talk about the game, about life. So he said when it matters you will do it. I guess probably he was talking about the World Cup, I think. So IPL, we were having a good chat around the game, basically. So because he was in a similar phase in 2011 before the World Cup, was not getting enough, like, not getting enough runs.
“So what he told me was to just be in good space. And that’s what he did, that’s why he was so successful at that World Cup. So that is the chat we had,” he said.