Rohit prefers to use the word ‘challenge’, not ‘pressure’

Rohit Sharma shuffled in, leaned towards the microphones and quipped: “nervous”. It was an aside, perhaps a query to the sports correspondents and above all an ice-breaker. The scribes laughed and as a Saturday morning moved from dark clouds to glorious sun that lit up the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a calm Rohit answered every query and smiled at times.

On the eve of the ICC T20 World Cup clash against Pakistan, the Indian skipper stressed that his men are ready: “We addressed what went wrong for us in the last (T20) World Cup. Coming to this World Cup, we are very well prepared. No team will be 100% right but we want to do as many things as possible right.”

With Mohammed Shami replacing an injured Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit praised the former: “When Bumrah got injured, we wanted to have someone experienced and Shami was the right choice. He got Covid back home but with the kind of experience he has, he will not be short of match practice.”

Speaking about Pakistan, Rohit refused to score any brownie points: “I don’t want to use the word ‘pressure’, I want to use that word ‘challenge’. This Pakistani team is a very challenging team. All the Pakistani teams that I have played from 2007 until 2022, have been good. It’s just that I believe on that particular day, if you are good enough, you will beat any opposition.”

The captain was pleased about reaching Australia early: “We made a conscious decision of going to Australia a little earlier. We had a great time in Perth and then we came to Brisbane. We played a couple of practice games just to get used to the conditions.” And as for the fickle Melbourne weather, Rohit hoped to have a “40-over game”.

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