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India coach Dravid hails exceptional Rohit despite final heartbreak

India captain Rohit Sharma cuts a dejected figure after losing the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup final against Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India on Sunday.
India captain Rohit Sharma cuts a dejected figure after losing the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup final against Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India on Sunday.
Image: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

India coach Rahul Dravid described captain Rohit Sharma as an exceptional leader despite the team's six-wicket defeat by Australia in the World Cup final that ended their 10-match winning streak in the tournament.

Batting more aggressively than ever before, Rohit played a crucial role during the World Cup by giving his team explosive starts in the power play overs to help them arrive in Ahmedabad for the final as firm favourites on the back of a stellar run.

“His batting was fantastic, the way he set the tone for us. “We knew we wanted to play a certain way and we wanted to play a positive attacking brand of cricket,” Dravid told reporters. “And he was very committed to doing that.

“He wanted to lead by example. I thought right through the tournament, he was quite superb in doing that. And yeah, I just can't speak more highly of him as a person and as a leader.”

India were reduced to 81-3 after Rohit made a 31-ball 47 and Dravid said the team fell 30-40 short of a competitive total as Australia chased down their target with seven overs to spare thanks to Travis Head's 137.

“I thought they bowled well through that period,” Dravid said. “It felt like the ball was stopping in the afternoon a little bit more than it did in the evening.

“And not that there was a lot of dew, to be honest, but it just felt like the ball came on to the bat a lot better in the evening. There was that period where the ball was stopping.

“We weren't able to get boundaries. We were rotating the strike, but we weren't able to hit those boundaries.”

Dravid, who was tight-lipped about his future, said the team would reflect on their campaign after the dust settles.

“There were a lot of emotions in that dressing room. It was tough to see as a coach, because I know how hard these guys have worked, what they've put in and the sacrifices they've made,” Dravid added.

“That's sport. That happens. And the better team won on the day. I'm sure the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We'll learn from it. We'll reflect and move on, as will everyone else.”

Reuters


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