Hyderabad: Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday played down the workload management talk ahead of the World Cup, saying the IPL is an ideal tournament to gauge "where you are" in the lead up to a big event.
In the media interaction before the IPL final on Sunday, Sharma said he left it to the players — Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah in this case — to decide their workload during the course of the almost two-month-long T20 league.
The India vice-captain was seated alongside Mumbai coach Mahela Jayawardene while there was no representation from their opponents — Chennai Super Kings — in the mandatory press conference as they arrived late on Saturday evening.
CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming were also supposed to attend the pre-final interaction.
"We spoke at the start of the tournament that we will assess each one of them and see where they are at and how they feel about their body as the tournament progresses. It is more of an individual thing than what we decided for them," Sharma said.
"Like in Jasprit's case, he is someone who likes to play games to make sure that he is in a good rhythm. We spoke at any given stage, if he feels the need to rest, we were open for it. Our physios have monitored him quite well. There was constant feedback from Jasprit as well. So far there are no issues with either of them — Hardik or Jasprit. It has to come from them and they want to continue playing."
If not anything else, the IPL has helped Hardik get back to his best ahead of the World Cup beginning on 30 May.
"How their form is the most important thing, they are really doing well. Anyone who plays the IPL and goes to a big tournament (like the World Cup) I feel it keeps them very much in touch with their game. It is a great tournament to hit form. Hardik is one example," Sharma said.
"He was injured before the IPL, missed few games as well (for India), now he has done tremendously well for us. You can judge yourself where you are ahead of a big tournament like the World Cup," he added.
Talking about the IPL final where Mumbai Indian will be aiming for a fourth title alongside CSK, Sharma said his team is focussed on the job at hand.
"It (Hyderabad) is a neutral venue. Both teams have played here so they are very much aware of the conditions. It is not going to be a major factor. It will be important to assess the pitch as quickly as we can, see what the ideal score will be if we bat first," he said.
Mumbai Indians will surpass CSK in the race for most IPL titles if they win on Sunday. However, Sharma is not reading too much into that statistic.
"All those things will take care of themselves if we play good cricket. We need to focus on the day rather than thinking about the past. The focus will be on how we can play better cricket. We are treating it as another match like we have done earlier in the tournament.
"It is a special feeling to be playing the final but as I said, the most successful team (tag) doesn't matter for us. Yes every now and then we have spoken to the guys about not being too emotional thinking about the play-offs, we just want to focus on the game and not look too far ahead," he said.
Mumbai Indians have beaten CSK thrice this season besides getting the better of them in two finals.
Asked if CSK bring the best out of Mumbai Indians, Sharma said: "I wouldn't agree to that. The tournament itself is the biggest challenge, every team is a threat. Rajasthan Royals did not qualify but they beat us twice so we have to be good on that particular day.
"There is a lot of hype around the two teams (CSK and MI) and it is because they have been successful in winning the championship, everyone looks forward to the clash.
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