IPL auction is done, time for everyone to focus on colour ‘blue’: Rohit Sharma

India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said that the Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction is over and the focus of everyone on his side should be on the colour ‘blue’ and the mission should be to do best for the country.

India and West Indies will lock horns in three T20Is beginning Wednesday and the focus will be on the brand of cricket India play, having witnessed disappointment in T20 World Cup 2021. The Men in Blue also need to develop a core nucleus that will play for them in the T20 World Cup 2022, Australia. “It was understood that guys will go through ups and downs, some emotional feeling within themselves on which team they will play for in the IPL. But that was done the day before yesterday, we had a great meeting with everyone and we asked them to focus on the colour blue for the next two weeks. Whatever has happened has happened, for the next two weeks, they have to focus on playing for India, nothing else,” said Rohit during a virtual press conference.

“That is something we spoke of and all these guys are professionals, you can expect once they wear India colours, it is all about India, nothing else matters,” he added.

Rohit’s franchise Mumbai Indians picked up Ishan Kishan for Rs 15.25 crore in the mega auction. However, the India white-ball skipper stressed that right now the focus remains on playing for the country. “There is no consideration of IPL here honestly. We are not looking at where will players bat for their franchise in the IPL, we are looking at where they will bat for Team India, as simple as that. We will be focusing on this, these guys do different roles for their franchises, what we need from them here is important. IPL will happen later, we will take care of it them,” said Rohit.

“This is the time for us to do things and guys have been spoken to on what we are expecting out of them. Whether it is bowler or batter, the clarity has been given to them and it is up to them on how they want to adapt,” he added.

India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said that Virat Kohli knows how to handle pressure and everything will fall into place as the right-handed batter is in a very good mindset. “I think it will start with you guys (media). If you guys can keep quiet for a while, then Virat Kohli will be fine and everything will be taken care of. He is in a great mental space, and he has been part of international cricket for more than a decade, when someone has spent such a long time in international cricket, they know to handle pressure situations. I think it all starts from you guys, if you can keep it quiet for a bit, everything will fall in place,” said Rohit during a virtual press conference.

Replying to an ANI query on whether the Men in Blue would look to give games to everyone in the squad, Rohit said: “Yeah, the idea is to identify the players who are going to play the World Cup, try and give them game time. There are a lot of players who are injured, come the World Cup, I do not know who is going to be fit, so we just have to get everyone ready for any situation. “We have a very packed schedule and injuries are bound to happen, it is important that we give guys who are going to fill those roles, enough gametime. It is important that we use this series and the next series that will follow after this, to our good potential and see whoever are likely to have, what they can offer us,” he added.

Talking about Hardik Pandya who is not a part of the squad for the West Indies series, the white-ball skipper said: “Hardik Pandya is an important player, he brings three skills to the table. We have not had a discussion on whether he can play as pure batter or not. It is about everyone being available. Since the T20 World Cup, we have had injuries. The important thing is to get everyone available, once they are available, we will look at the second step.”

“The door is open for everyone, we do not make decisions quickly, we want to go with the right combination because, in Australia, you will get different conditions. You will require different skillsets there, we want to prepare accordingly and we want to cover all the bases,” he added.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda.

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