Pallekele (Sri Lanka), Sept 5 (PTI) India captain Rohit Sharma said on Tuesday that the form of Hardik Pandya will be crucial for the team in its attempt to win an elusive ICC trophy.
The premier all-rounder, who has been named vice-captain of the World Cup-bound squad, has been saddled with leadership duties at various levels.
Pandya had led India in the second and third ODIs against West Indies in the absence of rested Rohit and is also the leader of the side in the shortest format.
“His form will be crucial to us. He’s a guy who does both the things (batting and bowling), and that’s important.
“In the last year or so he has come up with the bat and his bowling has been good too. That’s important for us,” said Rohit after chief selector Ajit Agarkar named a 15-member squad for the mega event in India.
Rohit was also pleased with Pandya after the latter made a composed fifty in India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan on Saturday here.
Pandya and Kishan constructed a century stand to rescue India from a precarious 66 for 4 and carried the team to 266 in a rain-marred match.
“You saw the quality in the last game against Pakistan. Ishan and Hardik put their hands up and scored well. Obviously, with bowling too he’s great. He has bowled well in the last year and a half for us.
“The way he batted in the last game showed that he has a very mature head on his shoulders. These are good signs for us,” said Rohit.
Rohit has not forgotten that India’s record in the multi-nation tournaments is not up to the scratch in the last few years with the last ICC trophy coming way back in 2013.
But he hoped that the ODI format will give his side a bit of breathing space and a chance to comeback even if the start goes awry.
“The 50-over format is different, especially where you play nine league games and semifinals and finals — 11 games. There’s always chance for you to make a comeback.
“The format gives you more time to think about strategy and what you’re going to execute as a team. You have lesser time in T20 format. Yes, the ODIs does give you a little more breathing space,” said Rohit.
Rohit also expressed satisfaction about the chosen 15 for the World Cup and termed it a perfectly balanced side.
“We’re happy. This is the best we can do with balance and depth. We have three all-rounders in the team, 4 bowlers and six batters.
“We have thought about it a lot and named this squad. This is the best combination for us,” he added.
India will play Pakistan in a highly-anticipated World Cup match in Ahmedabad on October 14, but Rohit said the players are not thinking overtly about the game.
“We don’t care about what is said outside. All the boys are professionals and they have seen all this. It doesn’t make a huge difference,” said Rohit.
Source: PTI News