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WTC final | In England, you never feel in but you will have an intuition when to attack: Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma during practice ahead of the WTC final.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

His only Test hundred outside the sub-continent came at the Oval in 2021 and India captain Rohit Sharma says one never feels “in” as a batter in English conditions but somehow develops an intuition as to when to attack the opposition bowling.

Ahead of the World Test Championship final against Australia starting Wednesday, the Indian skipper, who has enjoyed the best batting average in his team (50 plus) since the inception of the tournament, feels that there is no substitute for hard grind on English tracks.

“Look, I think, in England in general, it’s pretty challenging conditions for batters. As long as you are prepared to have a good grind, you can have success,” Rohit said during an ICC event ‘Afternoon With Test Legends’ here on Sunday.

Rohit, who was India’s best batter in four Tests in 2021 against England, spoke about his personal experience while seated alongside Pat Cummins, Ross Taylor and Ian Bell.

“One thing I realised in 2021, you are never in (set) and the weather keeps changing. You need to keep concentrating for longer periods of time and you will get that intuition when it’s time to take on the bowlers. More importantly you need to be out there and you have got to understand what your strengths are,” the skipper said.

For someone who is big on data and analytic, as one has seen him with Mumbai Indians and Team India over years, Rohit feels that knowing the scoring pattern of former players, who have had success at the Oval, won’t be a bad idea.

“I am not going to try and emulate them (successful players) but it would be a bit nice to know their pattern of scoring. What I have found out at Oval is that the square boundaries are pretty quick.” Switching formats for over a decade now, Rohit knows it’s hard but somehow enjoys that challenge, and his ability to tweak his technique as per requirements.

“That (change of formats) certainly has been the challenging factor. You know you play multi-format. Mentally you have to be very adaptable and tweak your technique. You need to be talking to yourself and get mentally ready.

“A lot of our younger guys haven’t done that. A lot of us are doing it for many years and bringing out best performances,” the captain said.

He might have won five IPL trophies, one T20 Word Cup and a Champions Trophy but for the 35-year-old Indian skipper, Test cricket remains the ultimate format.

“It keeps challenging you. You want to be in these situations. You look forward and as a person, it brings the best out of you. In last 3-4 years in Test cricket, we have had good success. Now it is about crossing that final hurdle and giving that confidence to youngsters so that they can play in the way they want to play,” he concluded.

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