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We don’t ask players overnight to bat at any slot: Rohit

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (PTI) Indian captain Rohit Sharma wants his middle order batters to show flexibility as no one in the national team owns any particular batting position.
The Indian captain also said that each and every player who plays or misses out has received clear communication about what role is expected of them and where they stand in terms of their international career.
Asked how Ishan Kishan will be placed vis a vis his batting slot if KL Rahul misses out against Pakistan in the Asia Cup opener, Rohit explained the team’s thought process.
“Ajit (Agarkar) is new to the picture and he didn’t know what was happening before that. I have tried to keep him updated as much as possible,” Rohit said while answering the PTI query.
“One thing I need in this team is everyone ready to bat anywhere. Cricket is moving in a different direction. You can step up at any position, no one should say ‘I am good at this position and that position’. That is the message that has been conveyed to every individual, not now but that’s happening for last two, three or four years,” the skipper said.
“I know it’s tough for you guys outside to understand that why is a guy who was batting at No. 6 is suddenly batting at No. 4. It hasn’t happened overnight. He has been prepared for that role. This is international sport we are talking about. This is not club cricket.”
“He should be able to bat anywhere that team requires him to. Not like we go off to sleep at night telling a batter a position and next morning we change that position. It doesn’t happen like that,” Rohit said in his inimitable style.
The Indian skipper seemed a trifle irritated when asked why India doesn’t have a settled No. 4.
“We have got guys who can bat at No.4. It’s not about No.4. It’s about top three and there onwards, 4, 5, 6, 7 and there onwards and who can win us game. There have been challenges and guys have been put under pressure and that’s a good thing.
“Unfortunately, we had injuries along the line and we had to try out different players and keep in mind workload management and see what combination suits us.
“We have 9 ODIs and 2 practice games and we have lot of games where these guys will get a chance to make the position their own,” he added.
When a scribe tried to grill him on his flexibility logic asking if random batting position changes create instability, his answer was akin to a pull shot that he plays against fast bowlers.
“When I said flexibility is necessary I never said Hardik (Pandya) will open the innings. Not that. It’s not top three but ones batting at No 4 or 5 who need to be flexible to bat up or down.
“No. 5 is Rahul and No. 6 is Hardik, but if there’s some change that flexibility is required as we also as youngsters did it. There is a method. We don’t do that kind of madness. This is not school rule that numbers 1 to 8 are fixed. It’s not about creating mayhem,” the sarcasm wasn’t lost on anyone.
Yuzvendra Chahal looks likely to miss the World Cup bus and Rohit was very categorical that he couldn’t have afforded to miss out on pace bowling option in order to pick him or Ravichandran Ashwin.
“We thought about off spinner Ashwin and Washy (Washington Sundar) but right now you saw Chahal has to miss out and we can’t get him in because we can take only 15 and only way we could have done that is by dropping a seamer.
“We cannot do that considering amount of games that is going to happen, some of them coming back after long time and we can have a good look at them. See what they have to offer.”
But like any skipper would do, Rohit said that doors are not closed on anyone although it was more of a consolation statement.
“No doors are closed on anyone. Chahal has played lot of white ball cricket and if we need him we would find ways to squeeze him in. So is Ashwin or Washy. Option is open for anyone,” he concluded.

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