India were not playing conservative cricket in T20Is earlier, says Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma does not agree to the widespread notion that India were playing conservative cricket in T20Is earlier. The India captain pointed to the team’s record leading into the 2021 T20 World Cup as proof that they had been performing well.

In the period between the 2016 and 2021 editions of the T20 World Cup, India were marginally behind only Pakistan in terms of win-loss ratio among the ten legacy ICC Full Member nations. India had won 45 out of 72 T20Is in this five-year period, while Pakistan won 46 out of 71 games.

However, Rohit added that the current team management under him and head coach Rahul Dravid is trying to get the team to play with a bit more freedom.

“We have not got the results in the World Cup, that does not mean we have been playing poor cricket all these years. I do not agree that we were playing conservative cricket,” Rohit said in Trinidad ahead of the five-match T20I series against West Indies.

“If you lose the odd game in the World Cup, it starts feeling as if we did not take our chances but it is not like that. If you look at the overall games we have played leading into the World Cup, we won probably 80 per cent of our games. I cannot understand how you can win so many matches if you are playing conservatively. Yes we could not qualify (out of our group) in the (2021 T20) World Cup but it happens. It does not mean we were playing with fear or with inhibition.”

Rohit said that India have attempted to create a team environment wherein players can perform without taking too much pressure. “Even of late, we have not made any change, we are playing in the same way. Just that people have been given a bit of freedom to play their game and not take pressure. You do not take as much pressure when you play for your state or franchise, so you do not need to take it when you play here as well. There is a different pressure in international cricket but it is our job to reduce it or even completely eliminate it. And we are trying to create that kind of environment, and will keep trying. Our focus is also on keeping the environment light.”

The skipper called for “people on the outside” to keep their patience with the team as the players were attempting to learn and results could go against them at times. “If you play without inhibition, the performances will come. That is why I’ll say that people on the outside should remain calm. The kind of cricket we are playing, there will be failures, results will go against us, but it is okay, there is no problem in that, as we are trying to learn something, and trying to do something different. So it is possible that we will make mistakes. It does not mean that the players or the team are bad. We all have to change with time. We are changing, so I think people on the outside will also have to change their thinking a bit.”

Rohit said that there were only a few spots remaining to be filled in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia. “We know what we need to do in order to fill those spots. We are trying to address those things in these matches.” The first T20I against West Indies will be played on Friday.

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