Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma (AFP Photo)

It’s not set in stone but India are getting there. Stand-in ODI captain Rohit Sharma has said that the team management hasn’t settled on their middle-order composition yet but as the ICC World Cup 2019 approaches closer, they expect to get a clearer picture.

To achieve that, Rohit has advocated giving consistent runs to those hoping to cement their places at the No. 4 and 6 spots in India’s playing XI for ODIs. Leading India to a title-winning run at the Asia Cup 2018, Rohit gave chances to Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik in all the six matches giving them ample chances to prove their respective claims.

With Virat Kohli set to return as the ODI captain after being rested for the Asia Cup, Rohit is hopeful the opportunities will continue for the middle-order hopefuls.

“We pretty much have clarity. The batsmen at No. 4 and 6 need to get more games as the World Cup comes closer by. It’s too early to judge to say they have sealed the spot. Right now is not the time. Come World Cup, we will have a clearer picture. For us, as a team, the next few tournaments will be ideal to judge where they stand as a player,” Rohit said at the post-match press conference on Friday.

“When I came here, I gave them the assurances that they will play all the games. That’s how you make players. You need to give them assurance about going there and playing freely without taking any pressure. If you know you will get dropped after two games, it’s not easy for anyone. It’s important to keep a team consistent. I wanted everyone to get a fair run. That’s how you understand the capability of a player. From one game you cannot judge.”

He also praised Ravindra Jadeja for his terrific comeback after being out of the ODI XI for over a year. In his first match on return, Jadeja took 4/29 and in the final against Bangladesh, effected a brilliant run out and then added a vital 23 runs in a close three-wicket win.

“When you are out of the team, you have that burning desire where you want to make a comeback and prove yourself rather than anyone else. He has done that in this tournament. He’s done that much better than before. He flew the night before, played against Bangladesh and got four wickets. His batting and fielding abilities are crucial. His run out [of Mohammad Mithun] was the turning point. We understand what he brings to the table. His 23 runs today, in the context of the match, were as good as scoring a fifty,” Rohit said.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar also underlined his role both with the ball and the bat. He hit a six off Rubel Hossain with India under pressure, scoring 21 runs and was involved in a 52-run stand with Jadeja for the sixth wicket.

“He’s been a crucial member of the squad,” Rohit said. It’s not just now, it’s been few years that he’s been playing an important role not just with his bowling but with bat too. Against Sri Lanka too, he got a fifty and built a big partnership with MS and we won the game. Even today, his 20 odd runs were so crucial to get us to the finishing line. He understands that the team wants him to bat as well. A player who can do more only makes the team better. We look forward to that from every player. He takes his batting very seriously.”