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With a coach like Shastri, Indian cricket team gets freedom: Rohit

Mumbai:India batsman Rohit Sharma and coach Ravi Shastri are confident of Indian team’s success at next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.

Given India’s tremendous showing in the one-day series in South Africa, where they beat the hosts 5-1, Rohit feels India’s ability to adapt and their uninhibited style of play will carry them a long way.

“I think so,” Rohit said when asked if India can win the 2019 World Cup. “From how I look at it, a team needs freedom and with a coach like him (Ravi), you get that freedom. We never felt under pressure about going and winning outside India. For me it is about winning, whether at home or outside. There is a lot of importance given to winning away from home. But for me, it is about going and representing my country and winning everywhere,” Rohit added while speaking at a book launch.

“And what we did in South Africa was an example of how this team is going to play over the next few years, at least till the World Cup. We want to go and express ourselves on the field. We want to enjoy our cricket. It is the most important thing that a cricket team can do on the field. We have learnt from our mistakes and we tried and rectified them when we went to South Africa. Hence, we saw improved performances from all the players.”

Sharing his views on India’s performance in South Africa, the Mumbai Indians captain said: “We read the conditions well and that is what cricket is about. I thought we did our homework pretty well against the opposition. The three Test matches we played, we dominated for nearly 14 days. One day of bad Test cricket and we lost the series, but that can happen. We are a young bunch but to come out and perform like that against a quality side gives us a lot of confidence ahead of tours of England and Australia.”

“Before we went to South Africa, I had clearly stated that the next 15 months are going to define this Indian team. No two ways about it. What our boys did in South Africa makes me proud as a coach because there were 21 days of cricket and on each of those 21 days, India competed,” said Shastri.

“We might have lost a close Test series but on each one of those days, the pendulum swung from one side to the other. A little bit of luck and that series could well have been ours.

“We believe we can compete against any side in the world in any condition. You don’t play the opposition, you play the pitch. The pitch is the same for both sides, so if you get a combination of players that can play well on that pitch, so be it. You can’t please everyone when it comes to selection. If you conquer the pitch, the rest will follow (with your selections),” Shastri added.