India coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday said skipper Rohit Sharma batted superbly and “led the team fantastically well” despite losing the World Cup final to Australia by six wickets.
The hosts came in as favourites in the title clash with an undefeated run of 10 victories but fell well short in Ahmedabad.
India, despite their vast riches, are without a global title since the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Rohit smashed a quickfire 47 before Australia hit back and bowled out the hosts for 240 despite fifties from Virat Kohli (54) and KL Rahul (66).
“I think he has been an exceptional leader. Rohit has really led this team fantastically well,” Dravid told reporters.
“Just think he has given so much of his time and energy in the dressing room with the boys. He is always been available for any of our conversations.”
He added: “His batting as well, it was fantastic. It set the tone for us. We knew we wanted to play a certain way, a positive attacking brand of cricket and he was committed to doing that. He wanted to lead by example and all through the tournament he was quite superb.”
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Travis Head smashed 137 to lead the Australia chase as they reached the victory target with 42 balls to spare for a record-extending sixth World Cup title.
Australia slipped to 47-3 but the left-handed Head and Marnus Labuschagne, who hit 58 not out, put on 192 for the fourth wicket to thwart the Indian bowling.
“Obviously a tough day in the office. Ran a really good campaign, really proud of the boys the way we played right through this tournament,” said Dravid.
“We gave everything we had in this tournament. Just with the last step of the campaign we probably didn’t have a nice game. My congratulations to Australia, they played really well.”