India captain Rohit Sharma has opened up on the importance of flexibility and dynamism and he also shared that players of his team have been spoken to about not getting fixated about a fixed batting position. He also said that batters in the team have been apprised of their roles and requirements but they will need to be able to adapt everything as per the game situation as well.
“One thing I want in this team is to make sure everyone is okay to bat anywhere,” Rohit Sharma said on Monday (August 21) at a press conference announcing India’s Asia Cup squad. “That’s one thing we need to keep in mind. You need flexibility, guys who can step up at any position. No one should say, ‘I’m good at this position or I’m good at that position’. You want guys to be able to bat anywhere, that’s the message conveyed to every individual. Not now, but over the last three-four years.”
However, the No.4 slot has been an issue for the Indian team for a long but the Indian captain added that different players could step into that slot as per the game situation.
He again stated: “Where things boil down to is the batting option at No. 8 and 9. Axar, you know he’s had a good run this year, batted well in white-ball cricket. He had a few opportunities in the West Indies but couldn’t make it big, but with him being there, it gives us the option of having a left-hander who can go up the order and play spinners if required, and also create batting depth. I know it’s tough for guys on the outside to understand why a guy who bats at six is batting at four, but the message has been given. This is international sport, not club cricket that you’re talking about. It’s not like we go to sleep giving a position for a certain player and then change it the next morning.”
He continued: “We say, ‘this is what we want’. You don’t want to be handicapped or stuck with one player batting in one position. Having said that, you want to get the best out of players in certain positions. All seven-eight numbers are open to anyone, that’s the message we have sent out for so many years now. When I said flexibility is important, it’s not like I’m implying sending the opener at No. 7 or opening the batting with Hardik Pandya. Shikhar [Dhawan] and Rohit have only opened in the last seven-eight years, Kohli has batted only at three. Youngsters who come in at four-five, it’s important for them to be flexible, batting up and down.”
“In the last four-five years if you look, the opener has opened, No. 3 has batted at three, KL [Rahul] has batted five, Hardik six, [Ravindra] Jadeja seven. Four and five, sometimes if they move up and down, there’s no problem. That much flexibility is important. Our position too when we came in, we batted up and down, I’m talking of that flexibility. It’s not like opener bats at eight and eight opens, we don’t do such mad things. Little bit of flexibility up and down is needed in a team,” Rohit Sharma concluded.