Rohit Sharma is probably the Indian batsman who makes the fans tear their hair out the most in frustration. Modern-day Indian fans love their batsmen to be flashy. They like it when the batsmen hit the ball on the up. They see class in style & in flamboyance. Conservative batsmen like a Cheteshwar Pujara or S Badrinath don't set their hearts racing as anyone like Rohit does. They admired Rohit's talent, they sighed as they wasted it in the preliminary days & they accepted the selectors' decision to drop him before the World Cup. They hoped that the drop would get him back on track.
Rohit has always had his great share of admirers in past cricketers. People like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri & Ian Chappell rate him highly. Do those expectations put additional pressure on him? "Yeah, sometimes those expectations does play in your mind," Rohit said. "At the finish of the day how much runs you score matters. How much ever gifted you are at the finish of the day you need to score runs."
There was a brain fade early on his innings, though. In fact, when they was still on zero. Devendra Bishoo flighted on a length well outside off & Rohit lunged out & tried to play a expansive shot. The ball swirled off the top edge but landed safely beyond mid-off. It was the jail-break moment. Rohit put his head down after that & commenced to play a bit more conservatively.
They is aware of what is at stake. "This is important phase of my career. I must keep scoring. I am glad I could do the job today when the chips were down."
It is a realisation that wasn't readily apparent in a more youthful Rohit. At least this clarity of thought wasn't there historicallyin the past. They himself went on to describe the reason. "Somehow I have not completed so well in the middle order (historicallyin the past) but it is part & parcel of being a cricket player. You have seen plenty of nice players who have struggled initially & later on matured as a player. I am maturing as a player; I understand the game well these days. I now know what to do & what not to do as a batsman."
Rohit has also had his share of brickbats. His critics have pointed at "attitude problems" & how early success got to his head. Rohit said they didn't agree they had an attitude issue but said they is more focussed these days. "There was nothing [wrong] about the attitude. People have their opinions & I am not bothered about it. It is fine. People will talk in the event you play international cricket. The more people talk more confident I get. My job is not to lose focus, stay quiet & you can learn from so plenty of players. There's been plenty of individuals who have come up from being down. I am young still & have a long way to go. I need not lose heart & focus. I need to keep playing & keep doing the right things."
This Indian batting line-up is sans plenty of of its senior players & Rohit believes that the added responsibility has helped him in some ways. "Yes I think you can say so. Whenever seniors are around it is not that there is not any responsibility. Here, there is Virat, Raina, Yusuf & me who have played a tiny bit of international cricket. The pressure is there in the middle order & they must bat well."
His aim is simple & straightforward: to play for India as long as feasible. "I would try to be consistent & make massive scores. When you are doing well, you need to think about going to the next level. Every tour is important. This will be the tour where I can set benchmarks & cement my place & play for India as long as feasible."
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