New Delhi: Just weeks before the ICC ODI World Cup begins, Indian captain Rohit Sharma has highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the marquee event and hinted that ‘anyone’ can lift the coveted trophy. All the teams are strong. The stylish opening batsman also said that the Men in Blue need to be the ‘best’ in the business to leave behind all the ‘strong’ teams in their quest for the World Cup trophy. After a gap of 12 years, the ODI World Cup has once again returned to India and will start from October 5.
The Indian cricket team is currently playing in the Asia Cup 2023 and will face Sri Lanka in the final of the tournament on September 17. Looking at the cricket performances of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul along with their recent form, it seems the Men in Blue have a good team balance for the upcoming ODI World Cup. In an exclusive email conversation, Rohit shared his journey in the game and his future plans. He also said that if he had not been a cricketer, he would have been a ‘real estate tycoon’.
Excerpts from the conversation: Question: When you say ‘cricket’ what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Answer: Cricket has been my love since a very young age and as I grew up and played more and more, I became obsessed and passionate about the game and now it is a part of my life. A strong part of my life and my family’s life and whatever I have today is because of cricket. It has given me so much that the dream of playing for India that I had when I used to watch my idols on TV has now come true.
Question: Who is your favorite batting partner?
Answer: Shikhar Dhawan and I had a very close friendship on and off the field. We have played together for many years and it is a partnership I have enjoyed being a part of. They have great energy and are fun to be around, and the records we have set as the opening pair for India.
Question: Most challenging bowler?
Answer: Dale Steyn has been one of the toughest bowlers to face. His work ethic, his discipline and his ability with the new ball were always a challenge and I loved playing against him.
Q: An international player you would like to play with – past/present?
Answer: I would love to play with Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist. I had the opportunity to play with Ricky at MI and then be coached by him, but Ricky changed the way he captained, while Adam changed the role of wicketkeeper in all formats of cricket. I think I will enjoy playing with David Warner today. He is always busy at the crease and on the field and he brings a different approach to batting.
Q: Do you have any fond travel memories with the cricket team?
Answer: A tour in 2006-7. We went to Kenya, to Mombasa, and a team of us went out on a trip and one of the things we wanted to try was jet skis. Usually, the instructor shows you how to drive it. Like a driving test. Pragyan Ojha did not listen to him and pressed the wrong buttons and accelerated so much that the ski jumped on the water so fast that he could not control it and it hit a boat anchored on the beach and there A small fire. Seeing the look on Ojha’s face was very memorable and even now when I go on beach vacations and see a jet ski, I think about it. It is very memorable.
Question: On the World Cup?
Answer: Anybody has to win the World Cup. All the teams are strong, everyone will bring their A-game, so we also have to give our best every moment and that will be my aim.
Question: Favorite Indian ground?
Answer: I made my debut for India (in Test cricket) at Eden Gardens and scored 177 against West Indies and then made the highest ODI score of 264 and my IPL 100 was also there. I also have Ranji Trophy 200 there. Beyond the score, my first trophy as IPL captain came there and also the second title. I love stadiums.
Q: Your most memorable cricket moment?
A: My first senior team trophy – the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2021 Test match at the Gabba, but I am looking forward to creating memories that will top both of them.
Question: If you were not a cricketer, what would you have been?
Answer: From reading pitch conditions to reading land rates, I would have become a real estate tycoon.
Q: When you travel, what do you take with you to keep memories fresh?
A: Polaroids of my family and the pictures my daughter takes before every trip.