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Dhaka Tribune

Unfinished business as Rohit channels Tendulkar at WC

Rohit remains one of India's biggest stars but time is running out for him to hoist his own trophy

Update : 09 Oct 2023, 06:39 AM

India skipper Rohit Sharma said Saturday that a World Cup win at home was "unfinished business" for his men, channelling the legendary Sachin Tendulkar's words before the 2011 triumph that capped his career.

The hosts open their campaign in the 50-over showpiece event against fellow big guns Australia in a much-awaited Sunday clash in Chennai.

India have suffered a world title drought since the 2013 Champions Trophy and last won the World Cup on home soil in 2011, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and featuring Tendulkar at the tail-end of his two-decade career. 

Rohit, 36, remains one of India's biggest stars but time is running out for him to hoist his own trophy.

"You heard the great man say 'until he wins the World Cup he has got a bit of unfinished business'," Rohit told reporters. 

"It's the same for us as well," he said.

"It is the biggest prize that you can have in your career."

He added: "Luckily for us the seniors, they have played lot of cricket and know how to stay under that radar. And then leave a lot of things to the almighty. We need that luck in the tournament."

Dhoni's India won the title as hosts 12 years ago to add to their 1983 victory, but the team slipped to defeat in the 2015 and 2019 semi-finals under Virat Kohli.

Rohit replaced Kohli as captain in 2021 and led them through their semi-final loss in last year's Twenty20 World Cup.

"In my books, the 50-over World Cup is the biggest sporting event in cricket history," said Rohit.

"This is the biggest event that I will be part of and being the captain is a huge honor," he added. 

"It was always a dream to be part of the World Cup and then now to be part of the team and then the captain, it's a big deal for me."

But the job comes with the expectations of a billion fans in cricket-mad India who expect nothing less than a second tournament win at home.

"How you handle that pressure, handle those moments during the game...and not to let that pressure come on to the team" was top of Rohit's mind, he said.

"Everyone is very aware of that, so there is no point talking about pressure, pressure, pressure. We try and keep the external factors aside and focus on what you want to do."

Shubman Gill is still recovering from dengue fever and unlikely to play the team's opener but Rohit said he was "not ruled out".

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