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Not Going to be Easy in Australia but we have Quality in Our Group: Rohit Sharma

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: November 19, 2018, 3:24 PM IST

The first time Rohit Sharma came to Australian shores was back in 2008 as a 21-year-old. Still finding his feet in international cricket, Rohit made sure he grabbed a lot of eyeballs when along with Sachin Tendulkar he scored a match-defining 66 that helped India take the first final of the ODI tri-series by 6 wickets.

He has since had a good time in Australia having scored 1143 runs in 27 ODIs in the country at an average of 51.95 with four centuries and four half-centuries. In the 20-over format as well, Rohit has more than decent record with 151 runs in 6 outings at a strike rate of 132.45.

Now back Down Under and part of all three squads, the 31-year-old is confident of making a mark yet again as India embark upon what promises to be a gruelling tour consisting of three T20Is, four Tests and three ODIs.

"I have always enjoyed coming here, it is a great place to play cricket, your performances are always appreciated and when you are not know that is appreciated too," said Rohit ahead of the first T20I that will be staged in Brisbane on Wednesday.

"The first time I came here was in 2007, had a good time, so I have done well in limited overs cricket. The bounce sometimes when you play in places like Brisbane, Perth - the good bounce allows me to play my game because I have grown up playing on cement pitches back home."

Rohit is having bumper 2018 so far in the limited-overs format. He has already scored two centuries in the 20-over format this year and recently became the first player to record four hundreds in T20Is. In 16 T20Is this year, the opener has smashed 560 runs at a strike-rate of 148.93 with three half-centuries and two hundreds.

He admitted that he would love to get another century in the forthcoming Australia series as well but insisted he was not looking too far ahead of himself.

"I am a person who does not think too far ahead. I just try to keep it simple, try and go out there and enjoy my game," quipped Rohit. "If I do so I get success and I am going to try and do the same on Wednesday.

"I am not thinking about anything else but to go out there and put up a performance which my team expects me to do. Their bowling attack will challenge me on a pitch like that so I have to be prepared for it.

"We will approach this the same way that we have approached any limited-overs game that we have played here."

The last time India were in Australia for a T20I series they clean swept it 3-0 with Rohit returning as the third-highest scorer. There hasn't been a lot of change in personnel from that team and Rohit was confident of his side putting up a strong fight this time around too.

"If I look at the limited-overs leg the last time we were here, especially talking about the T20s, we did pretty well here we won 3-0," said Rohit. "Yes, it is challenging for all our batsmen when we come here, but again most of the guys have come to Australia before, so they understand the conditions."

Having said that, Rohit made no fuss in admitting that the Australian pacers were certain to pose a strong challenge especially on bouncier surfaces of Brisbane and Perth.

"Of course, their bowling attack will challenge us whichever format we play," admitted Rohit. "Brisbane, if I may say so is probably the fastest pitch in Australia. I have not played in Perth, the new stadium, but Brisbane whenever we have played here it has always challenged us as a batting unit.

"So, we are ready to accept that and this time around we want to change our fortunes and come out with some exceptional performances. It is not going to be easy, we understand that, but we have quality in our group."

The three-match T20I series will be followed by the much anticipated four-Test series. India haven't yet been able to win a Test series in Australia, drawing 3 and losing 8 of their 11 campaigns, but with Australia a pale shadow of their strong self after the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the nation, it presents the Indians a rare opportunity to do well in the country.

However, despite a depleted unit, Rohit said that Australia in Australia was always going to be a dangerous proposition.

"See, Australia in Australia will always be dangerous without a doubt, so we have to be prepared for it," he said. "Right now all we are thinking is how we can improve our team and how we can perform as a unit because that will be important.

"Whenever we travel outside India there is always a special feeling and especially in Australia, this is one place that we want to leave our mark and do well as a unit.

"There is a really good feeling inside the group. The motive of the team is to just try and seize all the moments and try and win tournaments. When you do well in a country like Australia, you do feel good as a team and thinking about the World Cup ahead it can only give you confidence winning in Australia."

First Published: November 19, 2018, 12:08 PM IST

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