India skipper Rohit Sharma discussed his team’s preparations and the pressures of a home ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 ahead of the global event.
Rohit knows his team is under pressure to perform on home soil and is confident his side can rise to the occasion and claim a third World Cup title after previous successes in 1983 and 2011.
The Cricket World Cup 2023 will be the 13th edition of the tournament. Though India are the sole hosts of this event, they’ve been co-hosts on three previous occasions in 1987, 1996 and 2011.
The 1987 World Cup saw them reach the semi-finals and lose to England. The 1996 World Cup was a heartbreak at Eden Gardens, as Mohammed Azharuddin’s side failed to get past Sri Lanka in the semi-finals.
However, India had their stars align in the 2011 edition, and went on to lift the World Cup for only the second time in their history.
Speaking at the ICC Captains’ call on Wednesday just one day out from the start of the World Cup, Rohit stated that he was excited about leading the side into the event.
He added that while there would be pressure before the event, the point was to overcome it.
“I’m very grateful to be leading this team into this World Cup,” Rohit said. “I've seen the history of the World Cup being played and the people who have taken part in this World Cup. So I'm quite lucky to be leading this team into this World Cup. It's quite exciting at the same time.
“All these guys are quite used to going through that pressure, whether it's playing India or away from India, pressure is something that is not going to leave a sportsman.
“As long as you play the sport, the pressure is always going to be there. So keep that aside, focus on the job at hand. It's very easy to say that, but it's going to be tough. But I'm sure, we prepared really well and as long as you prepare really well, that gives you a lot of confidence going into any game.”
The last three editions of the Cricket World Cup have been won by host nations, namely India (2011), Australia (2015) and England (2019).
However, Rohit wasn’t thinking too much about this sequence.
“Not thinking too much about it. Honestly, (while) it has happened in the last three editions of the World Cup, but all I can say is we're going to try our best, give it our best and enjoy the tournament.”
Rohit added that given the tournament's format, a side couldn’t get too far ahead of themselves at the outset and must take each match as it comes.
“That's all I can say at this point in time. Because you know it's a pretty long tournament and I do understand that you can't get too far ahead of yourself," he added.
“So it's important for us that we try and focus on one job at a time and then move on.”
Both of India’s warm-up fixtures leading into the Cricket World Cup were washed out. They play their opening encounter against Australia on 8 October in Chennai.