Just hours before the highly anticipated 2023 ICC World Cup final between India and Australia at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19, captains Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins engaged in a lively exchange of opinions.
Cummins had previously asserted that having players from the 2015 World Cup-winning team would give Australia an added advantage, but Rohit countered this claim, stating that their perspective did not align with India’s.
It is noteworthy that five players from the victorious 2015 Australian squad – David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood – are expected to be on the field in their pursuit of a sixth title against India.
During the pre-match press conference, when asked about his agreement with Cummins’ assertion, Rohit expressed, “I can understand from which angle he’s speaking, but in my opinion, there is no advantage.” He emphasized the importance of considering the current form and mindset of players, highlighting that India’s players have experience in various finals, even if not specifically World Cup finals, and emphasized the need to maintain their current cricketing approach.
It is their thinking, but our thinking is different. We are talking about eight years later (from 2015). The players’ current form and current state of mind are more important. Our players have also played in a lot of finals – they might not have been World Cup finals, but they know how to handle pressure. We just have to continue the way we’ve been playing our cricket.
The captain Said.
Responding to whether India would be confident facing a supposedly less dominant Australian team in the final, Rohit disagreed with the characterization of Australia and acknowledged their recent impressive record of eight consecutive wins. He emphasized the completeness of the Australian side, anticipating a challenging contest.
“I don’t agree with Australia not being dominant. They’ve won eight out of their last eight games, where they have played really well. We understand the importance of what Australia can do. They are a very complete side, so it is going to be a good contest”
Rohit also praised coach Rahul Dravid, highlighting Dravid’s significant role in providing clarity and allowing players the freedom to play their natural game. Rohit acknowledged the massive contribution Dravid has made to Indian cricket and expressed the team’s desire to win the World Cup for him.
Rahul Dravid’s role has been absolutely massive in terms of getting that clarity. How Rahul himself has played his cricket and how I am playing these days are quite contrasting. For him to agree and give me that freedom and liberty to go and play the way we want to play says a lot about him.
Reflecting on his journey from being omitted in 2011 to now leading the team in the final, Rohit acknowledged the emotional challenges of that period but expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead India in the current World Cup final, emphasizing the importance of dreaming big.
Regarding a key player, Rohit commended Mohammed Shami for his team-centric approach, noting Shami’s support to fellow bowlers and highlighting his quality as a team player.
Speaking on his veteran bowling asset, Rohit said
“It was tough for him to not play in the initial part of the World Cup, but he was there for the team. He was there to help (Mohammed) Siraj, he was there to help (Jasprit) Bumrah, in whatever ways he could. And that shows the quality of him, being the team man that he is.”
In summary, the captains’ pre-match exchange, Rohit’s perspective on team dynamics, and his appreciation for coach Rahul Dravid and teammate Mohammed Shami provide insight into the Indian team’s mindset and preparations for the crucial World Cup final.