India skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday dispelled the perception that ODI cricket is in danger of losing its appeal, saying all formats of the game are important to him. With the mushrooming of T20 leagues leading to a packed calendar and forcing top players such as Ben Stokes and Trent Bolt to take some hard calls, doubts were recently raised over the future of the 50-over cricket.
“Mera naam hi one-day cricket se bana hai. Sab bekar ki baatein hai (I made my name from one-day cricket. These talks are nonsense). People were earlier talking about Test cricket (being in danger),” Rohit told reports on the sidelines of a promotional event here.
“For me, cricket is important, be at any format. I’d never say that ODI is getting finished or T20 is getting finished or Tests are nearing an end.
“I wish there was another format as well, because for me, playing the game is most important. It’s an individual choice as to which format to play or not, but for me, all three formats are important,” he added.
Rohit’s next assignment will be the Asia Cup in Dubai, starting later this month. India open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan.
The last time the two sides met was at the T20 World Cup last year when India were handed a heavy 10-wicket defeat.
“We played Pakistan last year in Dubai, where obviously the result did not go our way. But the team is playing differently now and has prepared differently, so a lot of things have changed from then.
“We need to assess the conditions, keep in mind the fact that we will be playing in 40-plus degrees (temperatures). We need to assess all those factors and prepare accordingly.” India, who are the defending champions, will be vying to win the continental showpiece for a record eighth time.
“Similarly, in the Asia Cup, our focus will be on what to achieve as a team and not think about who we are facing — be it Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. As a team, we are working on a few things ahead of the Asia Cup. We have to keep the process going.” With the T20 World Cup slated for later this year, Rohit said “more or less, 80-90 per cent of your team is set.” “There are still about two-and-a-half months left for the T20 World Cup. Before that, we have the Asia Cup and two home series against Australia and South Africa.
“There could be three-four changes, if at all, depending on the conditions. As of now, we have been playing in India and will play in UAE, so the conditions in Australia will be different. We need to check what suits our team in Australia.” Rohit said the team management is discussing ways to create a solid bench strength.
“(Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami and all these guys will not be with the Indian team forever, so you have to try and prepare the other guys.
“Myself and Rahul bhai (Dravid) spoke about how we are going to create our bench strength because that’s going to be very crucial considering the amount of cricket we play, considering the injury factors and everything.
“We never want to be a team that relies on one or two individuals, we want to be a team where everyone can contribute and help the team win on their own.
“We want to be that kind of a team and that’s why we want to give the youngsters as many opportunities as possible and of course, you have got senior players around them. They can be of good help.” Several players are being enticed by T20 leagues as they are choosing to ply their trade in franchise-based leagues over national duty. But for Rohit, playing for the country is paramount.
“It’s a difficult question. I don’t know what people are thinking about playing leagues over international cricket.
“There will be 10 more leagues, but in the coming years, we will get to know what the players prefer. But, as of now, the situation of Indian cricket remains the same — we play the IPL, the international cricket.”
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