- Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara have different batting approach
- Rohit Sharma is now very confident about his game
- The batting coach said that it was mainly man-management.
Former national selector and current batting coach of Indian cricket team Vikram Rathod (Indian Team Batting Coach) Vikram RathourThe journey with the Indian team has been full of ups and downs. Rathour spoke candidly about the Indian team’s batting philosophy, the Indian team’s batsmen and the future direction with our partner newspaper The Times of India.
How is your mindset as
Our thoughts are to have an open mindset about all kinds of ideas. It is important to understand that here man-management is of utmost importance. Interaction becomes very important.
Talking with Pujara and talking with Pant is totally different. They are completely different personalities. Here you will have to do separate sessions for both. And both times with a different approach…
Talking about the team, group discussion works very well. I have also started one-on-one conversations in the work I have started with it. Be it Pujara or Pant, everyone has a different mindset. Trying a different approach and listening to them is the only way for me to understand them.
Let’s talk about Pujara – he is very dedicated, very passionate and very disciplined. He is generally like this in his personal life as well. He has a very strict routine and follows it strictly. And then you have Pant in your team. Those who are fearless, want to have a lot of fun, they like to take their chances. He likes to dominate the bowler from the very beginning. And he is like that in his personal life as well.
Now one cannot keep all 11 players in a team like Pujara or all 11 players like Pant, right? Pant and Pujara need to have the right coordination to balance the win. It should help them maintain their natural form. The challenge for me is whether I can convince Pujara to add another shot to his quiver. Can I convince them to be more aggressive when circumstances demand? And can I convince Pant to learn something from Pujara? Can I explain to them that when the situation is like this, play a few balls comfortably before getting aggressive.
The Indian team toured Australia with a very large contingent. In England too, the team has gone with a 24-member squad. How helpful is the ‘problem’ of choosing from more players?
It’s good to have players competing for a place. It motivates them to do their best. Along with this, I feel that any player who has made it to the Indian team after facing so much ups and downs or hard work, he has achieved a great achievement. So whoever has reached here should get enough chances and the right support.
Rohit Sharma’s transformation and the way he has groomed himself in all formats is just amazing. We are seeing a very different Rohit Sharma in Test cricket…
Rohit is now in complete control. His thoughts… what he wants to do… what he wants to achieve and where he wants to take his career, everything is very clear in Rohit’s mind. Rohit always had the skill and talent to be successful in Test cricket as well. In recent times, he has figured out his game-plan for this format. See how he has changed his game since his return to Test cricket from 2019 as an opener. He always had a game-plan and method that has made him a successful player in the rest of the format. He has scored a lot of runs in other formats. But perhaps, he was not so sure about the first Test cricket. Now he is more relaxed and disciplined while opening the innings. And once he’s set, we all know what he can do.
Can you talk to 36 All Out?
We see this as a strange phenomenon. A lot of credit for this goes to Virat, Ravi and the rest of the team management. We had to focus our attention on the upcoming matches. If you look at that innings carefully, none of the batsmen got out after playing a bad shot. Actually, we had prepared very well for that series. When the team got out for 36, a clear message was given to everyone, ‘Look, there is no need to change anything or look back. Think ahead and don’t let doubt creep into your mind.
And then what about Ajinkya Rahane’s innings in Melbourne…
Many experts told us it was over. Nobody gave us any chance. Virat was leaving and Ajinkya was leading the team for the next Test. The responsibility was manifold. The kind of discipline he showed was amazing. He was not in a hurry. I remember in a conversation with me once he said that cut was his favorite shot. But if you look carefully at that innings, I think he played his first cut shot when he was close to a century.
The World Test Championship final is also about to come, how are India’s preparations?
The World Test Championship is a World Cup. And it should be seen as such. The team will go there with a clear mindset. It would have been better if we had got more time in England but all these things are out of our control.
Vikram Rathod (file photo)