‘Everybody who went in contributed and it was a proud moment for me as a captain’
‘We always had a positive approach throughout the tournament’
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said the key to their triumph in the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League was sticking together as a team despite getting off to a horrific start.
Mumbai Indians started IPL 8 in the worst possible manner, suffering four defeats in a row, but staged a superb comeback, winning nine out of their last 11 games. They beat Chennai Super Kings in the final by 41 runs to claim their second IPL crown.
“We didn’t start off the way we wanted to, but to come back from that and become the champions is a special moment,” the Mumbai Indians captain said, at the CEAT Cricket Ratings International awards in Mumbai on Monday.
The right-hander also acknowledged the contribution of head coach Ricky Ponting, saying the team's major focus on performing as a team and getting the best out of every player.
"I learned a lot from Ricky Ponting, who has been an amazing captain for Australia. With the help of all support staff we put a plan as to how we go about the tournament. We didn’t start well; we wanted to be together, we wanted to hold the team together and not drift away. We always had a positive approach throughout the tournament.
"You must have seen that for us it was about all the 11 players and not about one particular individual. Everybody who went in contributed and it was a proud moment for me as a captain,” he added.
Rohit was conferred the CEAT Special award for his record-breaking innings of 264 in an ODI against Sri Lanka in Kolkata last year. The India opener revealed that coach Duncan Fletcher had told him that if he had started a bit quicker, he could have even scored 300 in that innings.
“When I scored 264, our coach, Duncan Fletcher, reminded me that I started slowly, scoring my first 50 from 73 balls. He said if I had got my 50 from 40 balls I would have ended up scoring 300.”
Ajinkya Rahane was named the CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year for his consistent performances for India in the last season.
He was the stand-out player for the country in both the overseas Test series in England and Australia. The right-hander singled out the match-winning innings of 103 he scored at Lord’s at England as his favourite innings of the season.
“I enjoyed playing in both Australia and England. I got to mention one innings -- the 103 I scored at Lord’s -- and winning is really important for me. So scoring a hundred and winning a Test match is really special,” he said.
He also claimed that doing well in Australia in the Tests and the World Cup boosted his confidence.
“The four months we spent in Australia gave me confidence to play well in the IPL,” he added.
Asked whether he prefers batting as an opener or in the middle order, he replied: “As long as I am performing well and contributing towards my team, the number does not matter for me. Whatever number I bat, I look to contribute for my team and maintain the consistency.”