Rohit Sharma has said he hopes to pick up the skills of consistent cricket from Michael Hussey, who will be joining Mumbai Indians for IPL 2014. Hussey was not retained by his previous franchise, Chennai Super Kings, and was bought by the defending IPL champions for Rs 5 crores ($833,000 approx) in the auction in February.
Hussey's inclusion is expected to strengthen Mumbai's top order that is missing Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith from last season. The bowling is also missing Mitchell Johnson, who was one of the leading wicket-takers in their title win, but Rohit said that the presence of Zaheer Khan was a boost.
"Except Mitchell Johnson and Dwayne Smith, we have pretty much the same side," he told the Indian Express. "We wanted to buy Johnson and used the joker card too but sadly it couldn't happen. However, the core players still remain the same; plus, we have Michael Hussey and Zaheer Khan, who bring a lot of experience. So picking the right combination will be important for us. On a personal note, I'm looking forward to learn from Hussey how he manages to be so consistent."
Rohit, who took over as captain from Ricky Ponting midway last season, said the leadership role had given him confidence that he carried forward into international cricket. He also stressed that the biggest test for most teams this season would not be the new conditions in UAE, but finding a team spirit right away due to the formation of new squads.
"More than the playing conditions, what will be the key for most of the teams is how quickly every player gels with the other," he said. "After the auction, the teams have many new members and it will be a challenge for them to perform as a group. If the atmosphere in the dressing room is friendly and positive, then it is reflected on the field. Right combinations will be the key to success. These will be challenging two months ahead."