Wins more important for team - Ashwin
Rohit Sharma has made 5, 0, 0 and 4 in the ODI series, and India have conceded 90 and 97 runs to Sri Lanka's lower-middle order from overs 41 to 50 in the first and third games. But with the side having already won the series 3-1 going into the final match on Saturday in Pallekele, R Ashwin has said that there wasn't any need to talk about matters such as individual performance and death-over bowling as long as the side was winning.
"It's a team game and as long as the team is doing well I don't think anyone should comment," Ashwin said, when asked whether Rohit would be replaced for the final ODI. "It's probably a mistake everyone tries to do in terms of picking on someone. I don't think it's the right thing to do. Everybody in the team will be backing each other and we are doing really well so there is no necessity to talk about anybody at all."
Rohit averages 14.54 this year and has lasted 28 balls in four innings this series. India persisted with him and left out legspinner Rahul Sharma in the previous game so that the long-benched batsman Manoj Tiwary could be given a chance. Ajinkya Rahane is the only player in the 15-man squad who is yet to get a game in the series. Ashwin hinted, though, that India would not be making any changes to the XI.
"I wouldn't think so [that changes would be made], but it's totally left to the team management. We are just looking to go up 4-1 in the series. I think as we go on it will help us in the [ICC] rankings as well." The top four ODI sides are sandwiched together with Australia on 119 points and South Africa, India and England on 118 points.
Ashwin said India had been working on their death-over bowling but repeated that while the side was winning, it didn't matter. "It does happen. The bowlers do tend to go for runs. We need to find different lengths at different venues. Last game we finished it with almost seven-eight overs to spare. As long as the team batting first or second has [outdone] the other side I don't think it should even come under question. It's 11 on 11 and not bowlers against batsmen and batsmen against bowlers."
India came into this series after a two-month long break and Ashwin said it that helped the players to regroup. "The break has helped everyone to get back together. The general mood in the team has been upbeat. The freshness in the camp is actually helping. We have been playing a few soccer games as well. This 3-1 will give us an indication that everything is right and whatever we have done away from the field has helped us."
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo