Even the curator is confused about the NY pitch: Rohit Sharma

08:19 AM Jun 09, 2024 | PTI |

New York: Still baffled by the Nassau County ground’s unpredictable pitch, India captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday said he has no idea what to expect from it in the T20 World Cup clash against Pakistan as even the curator is “confused” about the drop-in wickets being used here.


The matches in New York have seen some low scores, including in India’s first match against Ireland when the latter was bowled out for a sub-100 total, forcing the ICC to issue a statement acknowledging the inconsistent nature of the track.

“This is not our home (ground). Yes, we have played a couple of games here, but a few of our training sessions have been washed out too.

“And about the pitch, well even the curator (Damien Hough from Australia) doesn’t know how the pitch will behave. It behaves differently on different days,” Rohit said in the pre-match press meet ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster clash.

The ‘Body Line’


The New York deck has offered extensive variable bounce and both Rohit and wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant had suffered a few blows in the match against Ireland.

But the Mumbaikar felt that players should be mentally tough enough to deal with such things while playing for the country.

“When you are playing at the highest level, all these blows that you get, I don’t think it counts for anything. We saw many examples when you play in places like South Africa, Australia, and you have to cross those hurdles,” he said.

The skipper then evoked the Gabba (Brisbane) memories to underline his point further.

“The reason we won that Gabba Test match (2021) was because of our mental toughness. The last day when we were batting on that pitch in Gabba, we saw the variable bounce there, and a lot of the batters got hit on their chest, fingers.

“These are the hurdles that you have to cross when you want to have success in international cricket.”

The 37-year-old urged his teammates to put the cause of the team ahead of all these external factors.

“It’s the World Cup. So, nothing can get bigger than this. You’re playing for your nation. I think the blows that you get on your arm, finger or on head, I think that can be secondary,” Rohit said.

“You need to put the team’s cause first, whether it is staying out there and battling it out and getting the job done for the team,” he exhorted.

Rohit said the team had sat together and discussed about the approach they should adopt against Pakistan.

“I think playing good cricket holds the key no matter the opposition or the pitch. We have had lengthy chats with individuals about what the game plan can be for the batters and the bowlers as well.”

The teams from the subcontinent are not used to drop-in pitches and Rohit asked his colleagues to take prudent decisions.

“I said there is a lot of experience in our changing room. So, when you come across conditions like these, I expect everyone to at least try and make good decisions. Of course, it can go on either side of it,” he said.

The Pak factor

Pakistan’s shocking defeat in the first game against the USA has come as a huge surprise.

However, the Indian captain did not read much into it.

“This is the specialty of T20 cricket. Anything can happen anywhere. In the last World Cup (2022), Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe. But eventually, they played the final. I’m sure they’ll also think that they shouldn’t make those mistakes in this match and play good cricket,” he said.

Pant at No. 3

India have promoted Pant at No. 3 in this World Cup and Rohit said he had made that call during the IPL 2024 itself.

“I had to look at Rishabh in just few games in the IPL to make up my mind where he’s going to bat in the World Cup. When I saw him in the first half of the tournament, I was really happy and clear that this is where he’s going to bat.

“And yeah, with a player like him, the kind of ability he has, it’s always tough to find the right number (to bat),” he said.

Rohit said Pant’s counter-aggressive abilities against spinners will come handy for the team deep into the tournament.

“When we have three right-handers in the top four, it’s nice to have him in the middle. I think later on when we move ahead in the tournament, the spin is going to play a big part, where his counter-attacking can come into picture in a big way.

“Since we don’t have (Yashasvi) Jaiswal at the top, we wanted somebody in the middle who can just go and play freely,” Rohit added.

Virat Kohli has been in fine form coming in to the World Cup but Rohit was against leaning on any one player.

“I think I don’t want to rely on one or two individuals to win us the game. I think everyone needs to chip in.

Speaking of Virat, obviously he didn’t play the Bangladesh (warm-up) game. But he’s had enough training under his belt before this game.

“He trained yesterday, didn’t have a great outing in the first game, but we’re not going to look into too much of that. The kind of experience he has, playing all over the world, playing in big tournaments, nothing can beat that,” he said.

Rivalry against Pakistan

For Rohit, the match against Pakistan was just another match, as he played down the emotional factor.

“Nothing has changed from the last seven months because we played them in the Asia Cup and now the World Cup. Earlier it was a different ball game because we used to play them maybe once in four years or two years.”


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