India's Rohit Sharma bats during the Cricket World Cup match between Bangladesh and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Leeds: Rohit Sharma has always maintained that he does not play for records, but after he broke Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara’s record for the highest number of centuries in a single World Cup with his fifth century of this tournament, he was again asked about records again.

Sharma, who had equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of overall six centuries in the World Cup, was asked whether he would be now aiming for 26 runs more to break another record, that again being Tendulkar’s 673 runs, the highest score during the 2003 World Cup.

Unaware of what “that 26 runs” meant, he wanted to know what was it about. When informed of the record, he noted: “I’m not here for records. I’m here to play cricket, score runs and lift the Cup. Honestly, I’m not looking at anything else.”

Sounding a little flustered at all the record-breaking discussion, Sharma pointed out how tough it is for him to focus on playing when so much of noise is made about records that have been broken or yet to be made.

“When we are in that fraternity where we meet many people, most of them talk to you about your batting, or your runs. But I think it is very important to keep your mind away from such talk. Fortunately, we have a bunch of guys around us who do not discuss these things too much, especially personal milestones. And then my family is also here to distract me from that. So, although difficult, I try my best to keep away from the past and focus on the present.”

Sharma added that he tries hard not to think of how many one-dayers he has played or the runs he has scored.

“For me, every day in cricket is fresh and that’s the state of mind I prefer to be when I play. The past is for you guys to talk about and make things a little interesting. But for us, it’s our duty to come out fresh and get the job done.”

But how does he manage to shut himself from the public reaction?

“That’s a big challenge for any sportsman. Distractions will always be there as long as you play and every individual reacts to situations differently. For me, I just want to enjoy my game and the beautiful weather in England. I have my family here as well.”

Sharma also added that there are a number of fans who stay in the same hotel as the Indian team and they constantly keep yapping about scoring runs, centuries, and winning the World Cup.

“I think it is important to stay away from these conversations because we all know what our job is, and we are here to do just that. For us as cricketers, it’s important to just focus on the job at hand.”

Will the five centuries in the World Cup be the biggest highlight of his career?

“If we win the World Cup, then probably it will be. If not, then I wouldn’t consider it, because eventually winning the World Cup is important, no matter how many runs you score or how many wickets you take. We’ve all have been looking forward to this big tournament that comes only once in four years. So the next job is to win the semi-finals, and then the finals. As long as that is not accomplished, you cannot feel satisfied.”