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May 27, 2013
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma has admitted leading his team was "tough" after Ricky Ponting stepped aside from captaincy in the initial stages of the tournament. Rohit was quick to add that he "really enjoyed" the role as well and knew he was next-in-line being the vice-captain for the past two years.
"It was tough when we changed our captain," Rohit told the IPL website. "It was not easy to come in suddenly to do the job. But I have really enjoyed this role since the moment Ricky stepped down and I was handed the captaincy. I knew the responsibility would fall on my shoulders since I was vice-captain for two years.
"It is simply amazing to win the IPL title with Mumbai, my hometown. The way we performed shows the character of the team. It was not an easy victory and I am really happy. I have no words to describe this feeling."
Rohit was handed the captaincy once Ponting dropped himself after the game against Delhi Daredevils on April 21, which they lost by nine wickets. Of the six matches Mumbai played under Ponting, Mumbai won three but Ponting made only 52 runs from five innings.
According to Rohit, Ponting's presence in the dugout and the dressing room also made a big difference and other former international players from the support staff also chipped in with their contributions.
"The support from Ponting from beyond the boundary was superb," Rohit said. "And it was not just him, but everybody else as well. Right from John Wright to our masseur, they were really fantastic. I would like to mention Robin Singh as he has been working day in and day out with all of us. Anil Kumble was brilliant and so was our support staff. We just stuck together as a team, which is really important in this format."
He was not perturbed by his own form in the playoffs in which he couldn't get to double-digit scores even once. But in the 16 innings before that, he amassed 526 runs at an average of 47.81.
"I am happy with my overall form, but I am a little bit disappointed with my performance in the playoffs. But it happens sometimes. I was focusing on getting my team in shape for this challenge."
Mumbai beat Super Kings three times this season and the venue for the final, Kolkata, proved to be lucky for the champions. They first beat Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets in the league stage, then Rajasthan Royals by four wickets in the second qualifier, before meeting Super Kings in the final. Overall, Mumbai have played seven matches in Kolkata and have lost only one.
"We have always done well in Kolkata," Rohit said. "We have had an outstanding record here over the last six years. Plus, the people of Kolkata are really amazing. They have been supporting us. Even when we play against KKR, we get some support."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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