Mumbai have historically been slow starters in the league stage of the tournament, and last year too they left their qualification chances right until the very last game, but letting a similar script unfold again is not something the five-time champions would want.
“We seriously cannot be blaming individuals here. It’s all of us,” Rohit said to his team in a video Mumbai put out on Twitter after their last loss. “We win together, we lose together. That is as simple as that for me.
“I think slight desperation is required from each one of us. That desperation is very, very, very important when we play, especially in this tournament. Because oppositions are different, they come up with different plans all the time. We just need to stay ahead of them. We just need to stay on top of them. And the only way we can do that is by having that slight hunger and that desperation on the field – with the bat, with the ball.”
Mumbai have shown some good signs in the form of Ishan Kishan’s runs at the top, Tilak Varma’s in the middle order, and two good shows from their new lead spinner, M Ashwin, in two of the three games. But some of their other bowlers have taken a beating – Daniel Sams has an economy rate of 12.63, Tymal Mills of 9.90 and Basil Thampi 9.50 – and Rohit tried to cheer up his team by saying they were doing some good things, but had to clinch those moments that change the game.
“So we are doing some good things. All three games that we’ve played, we’ve done some really good things. It’s just that those little moments, and that indication, you know an individual has to understand, in that period of time when the game is happening.
“There will be an indication that ‘this is the over’. What we do in that over, those little, that we need to try and squeeze that, and get it towards our side. Get that momentum towards our side.
“They (Knight Riders) certainly took the victory from us. We need to do that against the opposition as well. We need to nail those crucial moments and then see what happens, after that.”
Mumbai have so far played all their games on different grounds and are yet to play at Wankhede Stadium, their usual home ground in the IPL. Their next four games won’t be at the Wankhede either, as they run into in-form teams Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab Kings and Lucknow Super Giants in the next 10 days.
Rohit said there was no need to “panic or “worry about things” yet as it was still “early days”, but they needed to come together as a team on the field.
“We don’t need to panic. Honestly, we talk about talent, potential and everything in this room – but until we bring that desperation and hunger on the ground, oppositions are not going to hand us wins just like that.
“There’s no point in putting our heads down at this point, because it’s still early days. And I feel that, in these three games that we’ve played we’ve shown some character. It’s just that collectively, all 11 of us inside – whoever goes inside – need to come together.
“Let’s keep our heads up. I don’t think we need to look down and start worrying about things. Honestly, we don’t need to worry about things.
“We can talk about so much stuff off the field, but I think it’s in there, what we want to achieve as a group. Again, this is not the bowling group or batting group, this is all of us – all of us here. We need to come together, not one or two individuals. Everyone needs to come together. That is what I feel.”
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo