Former wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim has opined that captain Rohit Sharma is extremely keen for players to stay fit, keeping the upcoming World Cups in mind.
At a press conference ahead of the T20I series against Sri Lanka, the 34-year-old conceded that the hosts are facing quite a few injury and fitness issues. He stated that the think tank is trying to manage the workload and put a roadmap on how to take things forward.
Asked about Rohit’s emphasis on fitness issues in the Indian team, Karim pointed out during a discussion on the Khelneeti podcast:
“Rohit Sharma’s biggest targets are the T20 World Cup this year and the 50-over World Cup in 2023. He does not have much time and he wants players to perform up to expectations and stay fit. It seems like he feels it is important to address this fitness issue. Often uncomfortable questions are not asked in Indian cricket.”
The former cricketer added that it is important to talk about the issues plaguing Indian cricket, due to which they have not been able to win an International Cricket Council (ICC) event for a long time. He elaborated:
“Solutions need to be found for these problems, the right players need to be picked and backed. This is Rohit Sharma’s role. His style of addressing the issue may be different, but the intention is right.”
Batter KL Rahul and all-rounder Washington Sundar are unavailable for the Sri Lanka series due to injury. Just ahead of the first T20I, Deepak Chahar and Suryakumar Yadav were also ruled out, further weakening the Indian squad.
“There is no malice but a sense of innocence in Rohit’s outbursts” – Saba Karim
Before taking over as full-time captain, Rohit was viewed as a composed leader. However, he lost his cool on a few occasions during the series against West Indies. Playing down the incident, Karim said:
“There is no malice but a sense of innocence in Rohit’s outbursts. And players accept it. But we saw some of those expressions when MI were struggling last season. All the players know that this is how Rohit is on the field and off it as well.”
He, however, admitted:
“But yes, there are many challenges in store for him. We are winning now, so it remains to be seen how he reacts to defeats.”
The opener’s next assignment as leader will be the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, starting in Lucknow on Thursday.