Our U-19 team looks very strong as always: Rohit

Mumbai, Dec 26: Rohit Sharma feels the World Cup-bound India U-19 team is “very strong” and the defending champions will play really hard in South Africa to try and retain their crown.

The 13th edition of the U-19 World Cup will be played among 16 teams, split into four groups.

Defending champions India are placed in Group A with first-time qualifier Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League stage.

“Our team looks very strong as always. We won the last time. I wouldn’t say that we will win this year as well. I am sure about one thing — they are going to play really hard. They have got great coaching staff. Of course, it’s a big platform and in big platforms, India team generally tends to do well. I hope they bring the Cup back home,” Rohit said on the sidelines of an event.

India are the most successful side in the competition having bagged four titles till date, including the last edition in 2018, when the Prithvi Shaw-led team got the better of Australia by eight wickets in the final and remained unbeaten in the tournament.

Rohit shared his experiences with young trainees at his own cricket academy here on Thursday.

“There is no harm in playing big shots, trying to play a flamboyant cover drive. When we were growing up and used to play shots in the air, we were taken out of the nets, which was not right because eventually you want the results,” said Rohit.

“If the guy is giving you results by playing the big shots, there is nothing wrong in that. As a young kid, growing in this generation, you want to play shots. You want to look good (while batting) but again it is very important what they think of their game and what understanding they have about the game,” he added.

“What we need to be careful of is, if the player is doing mistakes again and again, then he needs to be told how he should go about it next time. I mean playing shots is not a crime.”

Rohit amassed 2,442 runs across formats in 2019. The dashing Mumbai batsman also surpassed Sri Lankan great Sanath Jayasuriya’s 22-year-old record for most runs as an opener in a calendar year across formats. He scored 10 hundreds across formats, including five in the World Cup.