Ahmedabad : Head coach Rahul Dravid lauded India skipper Rohit Sharma for displaying outstanding leadership abilities and demonstrating his dedication to leading by example throughout the ICC World Cup 2023 tournament.
Despite being the marquee event favourites, India were thrashed by Australia, who won their record-extending sixth 50-overs World Cup with a six-wicket triumph.
The bulk of the supporters gathered at the Narendra Modi Stadium, wanting to see the host nation end their decade-long wait for an ICC trophy win.
But it was Australia who came through on the big day. After a fast-paced powerplay, the Australia bowling attack collaborated to bowl India out for 240.
Rohit was also praised from all corners for his aggressive batting approach, which helped India set the tone early in the game and throughout the tournament.
"Yeah, I think he's been an exceptional leader. You know, Rohit's really led this team fantastically well. I think he's certainly got the dressing room. I just think he's given so much of his time and energy in the dressing room to the boys. He's always been available for any of our conversations, any of our meetings. Sometimes there's been a lot of planning, a lot of strategy that goes in. He's always committed to those things. He's given a lot of his personal time, energy into this campaign. And his batting as well, I thought it was fantastic, the way he set the tone for us," Dravid said in a post-match press conference.
"We knew that we wanted to play a certain way. We wanted to play a positive attacking brand of cricket. And he was very committed to doing that. And he wanted to lead by example. And I thought right through the tournament, he was quite superb in doing that. And yeah, I just can't speak more highly of him as a person and as a leader," he added.
Dravid also expressed sympathy for the players and emphasised the sacrifices and efforts they made to reach the World Cup final.
"The boys are disappointed. It wasn't, yeah, there was a lot of emotions in that dressing room. It was tough to see as a coach, because I know how hard these guys have worked, what they've put in, the sacrifices they've made. So, it's tough. I mean, it's tough to see that as a coach, because you get to know these boys personally. You get to see the effort they put in, the hard work that we've put in over the last month, the kind of cricket we've played. But yeah, but that's sport," Dravid added.
"That happens. It can happen. And the better team won on the day. And I'm sure that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We'll learn from it. We'll reflect. And we'll move on, as will everyone else. I mean, that's what you do as sportsman. You have some great highs in sport, and you have some lows in sport. And you keep moving on. You don't stop. Because if you don't put yourself on the line, you don't put yourself in games like these, you don't experience the great highs. And neither do you experience the great lows. And if you don't do that, you don't learn," India coach said.