Rohit explains need to be 'unorthodox' after India thrash Australia in Nagpur

By Sports Desk February 11, 2023

Rohit Sharma explained it takes an "unorthodox" approach to bat well on Indian pitches after he led his team to a big victory against Australia.

India won the first Test on Saturday after establishing a healthy first innings lead before bowling the tourists out for just 91 to win by an innings and 132 runs.

Australia could not handle the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin in particular, with the spinner taking 5-37 in the second innings on a Nagpur surface that favoured spinners throughout.

In total, 24 of the 30 wickets to fall came via spin, but Rohit – who scored 120 in India's innings – detailed his approach to dealing with the conditions in his home country.

"The last few years the kind of pitches we have been playing in India, you've got to have application, a clear mindset and some sort of plan about how you want to go about and get those runs," he said at the post-match presentation.

"Since I started opening the batting, I have tried to figure out what can threaten me when I'm batting and working out my methods of scoring runs. I have grown up playing a lot in Mumbai on surfaces which turn a lot.

"I feel you need to be unorthodox as well, you need to use your feet, you need to get to the pitch of the ball, and at the same time try and put pressure on the bowler as well.

"You can't let the bowler bowl six balls on the spot, you've got to try and do something different, and that something different can be your way of doing it, whether it's stepping down the ground, sweeping, reverse sweeping, going over the top.

"There are so many things that you can do, and it's important when you play on pitches like that, you need to understand what is your strength, what are the things you can do and not look at anyone else. I tried to figure out what are things I can do, and I just try and go and apply myself out in the middle."

The win cements India's place in second place in the ICC World Test Championship, with it looking increasingly likely they will face Australia again in the final in June.

India now have a points percentage of 61.67, behind Australia in first (70.83 per cent) but ahead of third-placed Sri Lanka (53.33 per cent), and they will seal their place in the final with two more wins from the remaining three Tests in this series.

Rohit was pleased with the manner of the victory, saying: "It was the start of the series, very important [for] where we stand in the championship table, it was important for us to start well.

"We know when you're playing a series like this it's important to start well, and I was happy that I could put up a performance which could help the team."

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