Rohit Sharma opens up about 'high pressure' in India captaincy role

Cricket player on the field

Rohit Sharma has opened up about the pressure he felt after taking his new role as team India's ODI captain. Speaking for the first time on his new responsibility in an interview with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Rohit said he did not care about “talks that happen outside”, insisting that he would rather focus on his job than let himself be distracted.

What was said

“When you are playing cricket for India, it’s gonna be always high pressure," Rohit, who also replaced Ajinkya Rahane as Test vice-captain, said in a video posted by the BCCI on Twitter.

"The pressure is always gonna be there; a lot of people talking about the positives and negatives but for me personally as a cricketer, not as a captain as a cricketer, for me, it’s important to focus on my job and not to focus on what people are talking about because you can’t control that.”

Rohit assured that haters will hate and advised "high-profile tournament" athletes to learn to ignore them.

“I have said million times about this and I will keep saying that and that is what the message is to the team as well; like, even the team understands that when we are playing a high-profile tournament, there will be a lot of talks,” he continued.

Rohit insisted that it is important to just focus on responsibilities as opposed to being distracted by critics. He also stressed the importance of building good relationships with his teammates.

“It’s just important for us to focus on what we have in hand, which is to go and win games, play the way you are known to play. I think those talks that happen outside are immaterial," Rohit continued. "For us, it’s important what we think of each other and that is more important.

“What I think of x, y, z is important as you want to create a strong bond between the players and that is what will help us in achieving the goal we want. Rahul [Dravid] Bhai is obviously gonna help us in doing that so we look forward to that.”

Rohit will make his debut as a full-time ODI skipper in next month’s ODI series against South Africa. Previously, Rohit has led India to play 10 ODI matches and won eight of them. Under Rohit's captaincy, India also became triumphant in its 2018 Asia Cup campaign.

Rohit was named team India's ODI captain after Virat Kohli was removed from the position by the BCCI last month as the latter had failed to win a single ICC title.

Following the announcement, Kohli praised Rohit, saying that he "is a very able captain, tactically very sound".

"We've seen that in the games he's captained for India and in the IPL with Mumbai Indians as well," Kohli continued. "So along with Rahul Bhai, who is a very balanced coach and great man-manager, both will have my absolute support and my contribution in whatever vision they set for the team."

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.