Rohit: 'We need to do a lot of things right to win the World Cup'

“It's a big game, but we want to just keep ourselves quite relaxed,” the India captain says of the tournament opene

Rohit Sharma is clear that India need to get “a lot of things right” if they are to win the 2022 men’s T20 World Cup and it’s too early to start thinking of the knockout stages of the tournament.

“It’s been a while since we have won the World Cup,” Rohit, leading India at a world event for the first time, told bcci.tv. “Obviously the motive and the whole thought process is to win the World Cup, but we know that we need to do a lot of things right to get there, so one step at a time for us.

“We can’t think too far ahead. You really cannot think about semis and finals from now itself, you just need to focus on each team that you are going to come against and try to do your best and prepare well against each team and make sure we move in the right direction.”

Despite being among the pre-tournament favourites for the last many years now, India haven’t won a World Cup since 2011. In the 2021 T20 World Cup, they failed to qualify for the knockouts.

Like then, in the UAE, India start their campaign against Pakistan this time, in Melbourne on Sunday. While there is the usual hype and excitement around the game, Rohit said that India needed to stay calm to get the result they want.

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Rohit Sharma on how T20 cricket has changed since the 2007 World Cup

“We know that this is going to happen – whenever we play Pakistan, it’s always a blockbuster,” Rohit said. “People want to come out and watch and feel the atmosphere, more than anything else. Obviously, they want to enjoy the cricket as well, but at the same time, the atmosphere in the stadium for the fans, the spectators, even people watching from home – it’s pretty exciting.

“And for us as players, of course, it’s a big game – we are starting off our campaign. But, at the same time, we want to just keep ourselves quite relaxed and focused on what we need to do as individuals, because that is going to be the key for us. If individuals can keep themselves calm and composed during the game, we’ll get the result that we’re looking for.

He said he was “pretty excited” about being captain at a World Cup, and that the players were gung-ho after acclimatising to the conditions with two games against Western Australia XI and one against the Australian World Cup side.

“It’s a great feeling, we have come off two [series] wins [against Australia and South Africa], but that was at home,” he said. “Australia will be a different challenge. It was important for us to get used to the conditions. Some of the guys had never been to Australia before, so we wanted to come here a little early and get used to the conditions.

“Conditions will be challenging but that is the reason we came here early and as far as I’m concerned, when I look at the whole group, they are pretty excited.”