New Delhi, Sep 16: With just weeks to go before the start of the ICC ODI World Cup, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has highlighted the unpredictability surrounding the marquee event with the hint that the coveted trophy could be lifted by “anyone” as all teams are strong.
The stylish opener also said the Men In Blue need to be the “best” in the business to leave all “strong” teams behind in the quest for the World Cup trophy. The ODI World Cup has once again returned to India after a gap of 12 years and will start on October 5.
The Indian cricket team is currently playing in the Asia Cup 2023 and will lock horns in the finals of the tournament with Sri Lanka on September 17. Considering their ongoing display of cricket, with the recent form of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, it seems that the Men in Blue have a good team balance for the upcoming ODI World Cup.
In an exclusive email interaction, organised by Booking.com – the Official Accommodation Partner for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Rohit shared his journey in the sport and his future plans. He also said if he wouldn’t have been the cricketer, he would have been a “real estate tycoon”.
Excerpts from the interaction:
Q: First thing that comes to your mind when you say ‘cricket’?
A: Cricket to me has been my love from a very young age and as I grew and played more and more, I became passionate and obsessive over the game and now it is part of my life. A strong part of my life and my family’s life and everything that I have today is thanks to cricket. It has given me so much, that a dream to play for India that I had when I used to watch my idols on TV has now come true.
Q: Who is your favourite batting partner?
A: Shikhar Dhawan and I had a very strong friendship on and off the field. We have played so many years together and it’s a partnership that I enjoyed being a part of. He has a very infectious energy and it’s just a lot of fun to be around him, and the records that we set as an opening pair for India.
Q: Most challenging bowler?
A: Dale Steyn has been one of the toughest bowlers to face. His work ethic and his discipline and his ability with the new ball was always a challenge and I loved to play against him.
Q: One international player you would like to play with – past/present?
A: I would have loved to play with Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist. I had the opportunity to play under and with Ricky in MI and then be coached by him, but Ricky changed the way you approach captaincy, while Adam changed the role of a wicketkeeper across all formats of cricket. Today, I think I would enjoy playing with David Warner. He is always busy at the crease and on the field and he brought a different approach to batting.
Q: Do you have any fond travel memories with the cricket team?
A: A tour in 2006-7. We went to Kenya, Mombasa and we had a team outing and one of the things we wanted to try was the Jet Ski. Usually, the instructor shows you have to ride it. Like a driving test. Pragyan Ojha did not listen to him and pressed the wrong buttons and accelerated so much that the ski skipped on the water so fast that he was not able to control it and he rammed into a boat that was anchored on the beach and there was a small fire. It was so memorable to see the look on Ojha’s face and even now when I go on beach vacations and see Jet Ski, I think of it. It is so memorable.
Q: On the World Cup?
A: The World Cup is anyone’s to win. All the teams are strong, everyone will bring their A-game, so we also need to be at our best at every moment and that’s what I will aim for.
Q: Favourite Indian ground?
A: I made my India debut in Eden Gardens (in Test cricket) and scored 177 against West Indies and then the highest ODI score of 264 and my IPL 100 was also there. I also have a Ranji trophy 200 there. Beyond the scores, my first trophy as IPL captain came there and another title as well. I love the stadium.
Q: Your most memorable cricket moment?
A: My first senior team trophy – the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2021 Test match in Gabba, but I am looking ahead to create memories that will top these two.
Q: If not a cricketer what would you be?
A: From reading pitch conditions to reading land rates, I would have become a real estate tycoon.
Q: What is the one thing you take with you, when you travel, to retain memories?
A: Polaroids of my family and the drawings my daughter does before every tour.