Rohit Sharma urges India to retain same mindset for World Cup semi-final

Rohit Sharma insisted India are unfazed by past near-misses and will retain the demeanour that carried them to nine wins from nine in the World Cup group stage into their semi-final against New Zealand.

The 1983 and 2011 champions have endured a decade-long trophy drought on the global stage, eliminated in the semi-finals of the last two 50-over World Cups as well as at last year’s T20 equivalent.

Accused of failing to show up when it matters most, India have nevertheless thrilled their home fans in recent weeks by sweeping all before them, by far the dominant side heading into the knockout rounds.

Rohit therefore sees no reason to alter the game-plan ahead of a Mumbai showdown against perpetual underdogs New Zealand, who upset the odds to defeat India at the same stage four years ago.

“In India, if you are an Indian cricketer, then whatever the format, whatever the tournament, there is always pressure,” the 36-year-old batter said. “But we have handled that pressure very well in the last nine games.

“What happens from outside will always continue. We don’t really have to change too much, being that same mindset as we were before the start of the World Cup. We will focus on playing good cricket.

“This current crop of players are very much into what is happening today, what can happen tomorrow. I don’t see them talking about how we won the last World Cup, how we won our first World Cup.

“Half of the guys were not even born when we won our first World Cup. And then when we won our second World Cup in 2011, half of the guys were not even playing the game. The focus is on the present.”

Rohit and several team-mates who will play at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday featured in the 2019 defeat to the Black Caps, who also beat India in the inaugural World Test Championship final in 2021.

“In the back of your mind, you know what has happened in the past,” Rohit added. “But what has happened in the past is the past. It’s not going to determine too much about what will happen.

“I don’t think there’s much debate or much talk about what happened 10 years ago or five years ago or the last World Cup as well.”