Rohit Sharma: ‘We want players to stand up in big moments and a lot of the guys stood up’


“It’s so tough when you have to come back like that,” Rohit said. “Five minutes before the toss, we told him he’s playing. An unfortunate incident happened [Iyer’s back spasm] and KL had to come in and play. To get a hundred like that shows the quality of the player, how mentally he’s ready for the challenge. We want players to stand up in big moments and in big pressure situations and a lot of the guys stood up.”

Job done, it’s time to celebrate – India with their eighth Asia Cup trophyAFP/Getty Images

“Honestly I was a little surprised at how much the wicket did,” Rohit said. “Because we didn’t expect the wicket to do that much. That’s been the nature of this ground [R Premadasa Stadium], you have to be prepared for unexpected things. Those are the challenges you come across as sportsmen. In conditions like this you don’t know exactly what the right score is, what the winning score is.

“We defended 213 against Sri Lanka [and it was enough in the Super 4s] but the other day we couldn’t chase 266 [against Bangladesh], and today we bowled them out for 50. So, the nature of the pitches here has been challenging, unexpected as well. I mean when the pitch had so much to offer, we needed guys who have the skill to exploit that.

“Siraj has to be specially mentioned here, when the pitch is looking that dry, to get the ball to move around like that is a special skillset. I hope he continues that for a little longer, at the same time we just need to look after all the bowlers, make sure they’re fresh, and keep them ready for the games in front of us now.”

Rohit on Kuldeep Yadav: ‘He’s brought the team back from tough situations’

Rohit was effusive in his praise for Kuldeep Yadav, the lone wristspinner in India’s squad, who was named Player of the Series despite being only the fifth-highest wicket-taker – his nine wickets in five games were only two shy of Matheesha Pathirana’s chart-topping 11 wickets and there were three bowlers tied on 10, but Kuldeep’s average and economy of 11.44 and 3.61 were was the best among these top five.

“Kuldeep has bowled superbly,” Rohit said. “Under pressure, whenever he’s had the chance to bowl, especially against Sri Lanka [in the Super 4s] where we didn’t have a big score, he came in and picked up a lot of crucial wickets. His confidence has gone up over the last 1-1.5 years. Whenever he’s got the chance he’s bowled well. He’s brought the team back from tough situations, which is a good quality. As a team if we have such a quality bowler, it feels great.”

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo