June 8, 2019 / 7:00 PM / 8 days ago

Rohit ready to curb aggression to boost India's World Cup challenge

LONDON (Reuters) - Rohit Sharma is seeking to curb his natural strokeplay and bat for longer to help India’s World Cup campaign, the flamboyant opener said on Saturday.

Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Warm-Up Match - India v New Zealand - Kia Oval, London, Britain - May 25, 2019 India's Rohit Sharma in action Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

The 32-year-old opener’s cultured century in Wednesday’s encounter with South Africa reflected his new batting approach which put team interest above wooing the gallery.

“I think I have played more than 200 ODIs now. If I don’t do it now, then when?” he said of his new approach ahead of Sunday’s clash with holders Australia.

“Experience teaches you a lot of things, and that is something that has come into my game of late, the past few years rather.

“You want to make sure that you start the innings and you finish off the innings as well. That gives you immense pleasure.”

Rohit is know for his ‘daddy hundreds’ and is the only batsman with three double centuries in one-dayers, including a 264 against Sri Lanka which remains an ODI record.

Against South Africa, however, Rohit curbed his natural game to help pull off a tricky chase with an unbeaten 122 at Southampton.

“The satisfaction you get finishing the job is something else, rather than scoring a hundred and not finishing off the game,” he said.

The elegant Mumbai player’s 23 ODI centuries include seven scores of 150 or more.

“Once I cross a certain score, I tend to just take on from there. But it was not the case in that particular game,” Sharma said of the South Africa match.

“I had to see the situation, because I knew it was not going to be easy for the new batter to come in and start scoring runs.

“So my job was just to be there and make sure I held the one end of our batting unit and stitched crucial partnerships... I think this World Cup is all going to be about that.”

Even before Rohit made his international debut in 2007, there was never any doubt about his talent but inconsistency plagued the early phase of his career.

Rohit attributes his more recent success to a better understanding of his game.

“At times you have to go with your natural instinct and just respect the conditions... and then use your experience.

“I’ve understood how you need to bat in certain conditions and realised how important it is for one of your top order batsmen to bat all the way through.

“So those are the things I’ve calculated and I’ve brought into my game, which has probably given me success.”

Reporting by Antony Lawrence

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