In a high-stakes World Cup 2023 semi-final against New Zealand, India emerged victorious with a commanding performance, posting a record total of 397 and successfully defending it at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Star middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, who played a pivotal role in the win with a rapid 70-ball 105, attributed India’s batting success to the fearless approach set by captain Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. Iyer expressed his admiration for Rohit’s impact, stating, “Rohit Sharma, to be honest, he sets the template for us. He gives us that kind of starts that we have to go out there and carry forward the pace he has set for us.”
Rohit Sharma’s aggressive approach was evident from the first powerplay as he took on New Zealand’s new-ball bowlers, scoring a quick 47 off 29 balls. His onslaught provided the platform for a massive total, disrupting the rhythm of bowlers like Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner. Iyer emphasized Rohit’s influence, noting, “His body language talks a lot about him.”
The captain’s approach has transformed since taking over as ODI captain, evolving from an accumulator to an aggressor. Ending the league stage with over 500 runs at a strike rate of over 120, Rohit continued his fearless style in the high-pressure semi-final, setting the stage for India’s victory.
Iyer talks about Rohit’s calmness and support
Iyer highlighted the infectious nature of Rohit’s relaxed demeanor, stating, “When he is in the dressing room, when you look at him, he is so casual in his body language. That rubs off on all the players in the team. That’s what I love about him as captain.”
“It’s pivotal (support from the captain and the coaches). I didn’t have a great start in the first few matches. But they supported me. They told me that they are not worried about the outside noise. Inside the dressing room, as a coach and as a captain ‘we are backing you’. They just told me to express myself rather than thinking about what’s happening in the outside,” Iyer said.
Despite facing initial scrutiny in the World Cup, Iyer’s consistent performance in the latter part of the tournament, including back-to-back centuries, showcased his resilience. He credited the backing of the team management, saying, “Inside the dressing room, as a coach and as a captain, ‘we are backing you.’ They just told me to express myself rather than thinking about what’s happening on the outside.”
The support from the team management proved crucial as Iyer repaid the faith by exceeding 500 runs in his maiden World Cup, contributing significantly to India’s success. As India advances to the World Cup 2023 final, the impact of Rohit Sharma’s fearless captaincy and Shreyas Iyer’s consistent batting performances remains a key narrative in their journey.