Rohit Sharma has a lot going for him as he prepares for India’s 2019 World Cup clash against Australia on Sunday. The India vice-captain averages more than 60 against Australia and scored a fighting unbeaten 122 to seal victory against South Africa in their World Cup opener.
However, Rohit said history won’t matter a lot when the teams collide at The Oval.
“The past is past,” Rohit was quoted as saying by the ICC.
“What’s gone before means nothing, it’s just about being better on the day, nothing else. I will not look back, it gives you confidence but it’s just about tomorrow, not the history. Self-belief has played a big part in these past five or six years, I know I can get the job done for the team.
“I don’t look at records or milestones or where I am in rankings, it’s just about playing well and doing a good job for the team. Perhaps there will be external rewards but that’s for the end of my career, not now.”
India have won just five of their 15 ODI matches at The Oval. Moreover, Australia came from behind to win the bilateral ODI series in India earlier in the year. Rohit said his team will need to be on top of its game.
“We’ve got a good rivalry, we played some really good cricket there and they played really well in India. We just need to focus on the basics and then everything will follow,” he added.
“I was happy with my performance against South Africa, I had to curb my natural instincts and play to the conditions and that gives me immense satisfaction. It wasn’t my best innings but it was one of my best innings.”
The one bit of recent history that Rohit did look into was Australia’s struggles against the short ball against the West Indies. While they did well to recover from 38-4, Rohit said India quicks – led by Jasprit Bumrah – know what needs to be done.
“If the batsmen is finding it uncomfortable we will welcome him with some short stuff but these guys play bouncers all the time growing up in Australia,” Rohit added.
“Even the best batsmen will find it difficult against short-pitched bowling and we’ve definitely got the attack to do that. However, we shouldn’t get carried away, we need to read the conditions and keep their batsmen guessing.”
Virat Kohli’s men will look to build on their convincing win over South Africa, while Australia attempt to make it three wins from three after beating West Indies in a thriller.
There’s no love lost between the two teams, who have consistently battled at the top for two decades. We look ahead to the big game.
Will ghosts of 2015 haunt India?
A Steve Smith led Australian side dominated India and dumped them out of the World Cup in the 2015 semi-finals. The Aussies set India a target of 329 runs and won the game by a massive 95 runs.
Smith is now back from a one-year ban and if his performance against West Indies is anything to go by, the former skipper has shown that he could be the resolute batsman Australia need to anchor the innings should they suffer from another top-order collapse.
Meanwhile, India will be eyeing retribution as they look to bury the ghosts of the humiliating defeat in Sydney four years ago.
India’s spin-attack could rattle the Aussies
The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are fresh from their demolition of South Africa’s middle-order. The pair picked up five wickets, with Chahal claiming a four-wicket haul.
The ball was turning brilliantly for Chahal in particular and it was his first spell that took the game away from the Proteas.
In the last innings played at the Oval, spinners claimed six of the eight wickets as Bangladesh failed in their attempts to keep New Zealand from reaching a target of 245. Should the Indian spinners pick up from where the Bangladeshis left off, Australia could be in big trouble.
The Aussies have Adam Zampa in their ranks but are likely to be more reliant on pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins who are enjoying a great start to their World Cup.
Jason Roy hit a punishing century as England piled on 386-6 for six against Bangladesh in Cardiff, their highest World Cup total and the top score of the tournament.
England were searching for a response after their surprise defeat to Pakistan and Roy provided it, clubbing his way to 153 in 121 balls including five of the side’s 14 sixes.
The Surrey opener had just hit a new gear when he fell, miscuing Mehidy Hasan to extra cover after slamming his three previous deliveries into the stands.
Roy and Jonny Bairstow quickly caught up after a careful start, reaching 67 without loss after the 10-over powerplay. Roy was the primary aggressor, driving straight and hard and pulling with authority.
Roy never looked likely to throw away his start, ruthlessly punishing errors in length, and was gifted his hundred by a misfield in the deep. As he watched the ball slam against the rope he charged unwittingly into umpire Joel Wilson, who landed heavily and needed a moment to compose himself.
Having helped him to his feet, Roy finally got round to celebrating. With a ninth international ton in the bank he upped the ante, tearing into the spinners as he moved from 100 to 150 in 28 balls.