Rohit Sharma attempted to downplay the expectation on his India side ahead of their T20 World Cup semi-final against England, insisting the outcome will not define reputations.
India’s record at this tournament since being crowned inaugural champions in 2007 is surprisingly modest as they have reached the final on just one out of the last six occasions.
They suffered a shock group stage exit in the United Arab Emirates last year but can banish those memories by beating England at Adelaide on Thursday then Pakistan in the final at the MCG on Sunday.
While India are viewed as slight favourites to reach the marquee match, Sharma feels his legacy and that of vaunted team-mates such as Virat Kohli cannot be washed away by what happens in the next few days.
“There’s only one opportunity to do well in a knockout game,” said the captain. “But for the players, what they’ve done in their entire career doesn’t define them by just one knockout game.
“The entire year you work so hard to get where you want to and to do well in whichever format you play. So that one particular game is not going to decide that.
“Knockout games are important, and if you do well it gives you that immense confidence. But we do not forget what has happened in the past, what the players have done in the past.
“To be here at this point in time, we can take a lot of credit and pride in where we have come. I really don’t believe that one bad game in the knockout can truly define what kind of player you are.”
India have had to make do without star fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah during their campaign due to a back injury but left-armer Arshdeep Singh has been a revelation with 10 wickets in five matches.
Kohli currently leads the tournament run-charts while Suryakumar Yadav is not far behind and boasts an astronomical strike-rate of 193.96, with three half-centuries to help India top their Super 12s group.
“When it comes to carrying the extra pressure, extra baggage, I don’t think Suryakumar has that in him,” said Rohit, who added with a smile: “Except he’s got a lot of suitcases, he loves his shopping!
“But he likes to bat in a similar fashion, whether we are 10 for two or 100 for two. He likes to go out and express himself. As we say, the sky’s the limit for him.”
India walked away from England in the summer with 2-1 wins in both T20 and ODI series. While they lost the most recent T20 meeting at Trent Bridge in July, India had fielded a weakened bowling attack.
“In the back of our mind, yes, we can have that confidence knowing that we did pretty well against them,” said Rohit. “But we just need to start fresh and think about the game with a fresh mind.
“We can’t go into the game thinking that we’ve beaten this team and it can happen again just like that.
“These guys are quite dangerous. They’ve played some really good cricket in the tournament, which is why they’re here, so we’ve got to be at our best to win the game.”