West Indies v India, 1st ODI, Trinidad June 6, 2011

Rohit puts World Cup disappointment behind him


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 and in flamboyance. Conservative batsmen like a Cheteshwar Pujara or S Badrinath don't quite set their hearts racing as someone like Rohit does. They admired Rohit's talent, they sighed as he wasted it in the initial days and they accepted the selectors' decision to drop him before the World Cup. They hoped that the drop would get him back on track.

Rohit didn't quite see it that way, or at least verbalise it that way, but said he has put behind him the disappointment of not being selected in the World Cup and that he is focussed on getting his career back on track. "Yes I was very disappointed in not being part of the World Cup but I have to move on," Rohit said after top scoring for India in the win against West Indies. "I had a good IPL. Whenever you are in good form, you have to carry on. Today was a perfect day. It wasn't an easy track; it was very slow and turning a bit. You need a lot of time to keep the innings going. Till 35 I didn't score a single boundary or a four."

There was a brain fade early on his innings, though. In fact, when he was still on zero. Devendra Bishoo flighted one on a length well outside off and Rohit lunged out and tried to play a very 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 and started to play a bit more conservatively.

Rohit has always had his great share of admirers in past cricketers. People like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Ian Chappell rate him highly. Do those expectations put extra pressure on him? "Yeah, sometimes those expectations does play in your mind," Rohit said. "At the end of the day how much runs you score matters. How much ever talented you are at the end of the day you have to score runs."

It's a realisation that wasn't readily apparent in a younger Rohit. At least this clarity of thought wasn't quite there in the past. He himself went on to explain the reason. "Somehow I have not done really so well in the middle order (in the past) but it's part and parcel of being a cricketer. You have seen many good players who have struggled initially and later on matured as a player. I am maturing as a player; I understand the game very well these days. I now know what to do and what not to do as a batsman."

He is aware of what is at stake. "This is very important phase of my career. I have to keep scoring. I am glad I could do the job today when the chips were down."

Rohit has also had his share of brickbats. His critics have pointed at "attitude problems" and how early success got to his head. Rohit said he didn't agree he had an attitude problem but said he is more focussed these days. "There was nothing [wrong] about the attitude. People have their opinions and I am not bothered about it. It's fine. People will talk if you play international cricket. The more people talk more confident I get. My job is not to lose focus, remain calm and you can learn from so many players. There have been many people who have come up from being down. I am young still and have a long way to go. I don't need to lose heart and focus. I just need to keep playing and keep doing the right things."

This Indian batting line-up is sans many of its senior players and Rohit believes that the added responsibility has helped him in some ways. "Yes I think you can say so. Whenever seniors are around it's not that there is not any responsibility. Here, there is Virat, Raina, Yusuf and me who have played a bit of international cricket. The pressure is there in the middle order and we have to bat well."

His goal is simple and straightforward: to play for India as long as possible. "I would try to be consistent and make big scores. When you are doing well, you have to think about going to the next level. Every tour is important. This will be the tour where I can set benchmarks and cement my place and play for India as long as possible."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    @ashy2010 well said. This has been a regular topic which is discussed by the wrong note. Regardless of the language and state they belong to it has to be argued. Rohit is immensly talented no doubt about it and the the same time performence at the internationational level counts big. Raydu is talanted, same goes with Uthappa. Raydu had no chance yet and uthappa not had enough. But Rohit had the support, and still cant cement a permanent position. Admire Raina and Kholi, both performed and maximised there chance when selectkikon commitee gathers.

  • Mithun on June 9, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    @ rkannancrown : Without saying it seems that your heart goes for the Tamil Nadu cricketers. And please do not call Mumbai cricket as substandard where record shows they are still ruling the domestic cricket.Id TN has such a good cricketing standard why don't they keep on winning :)...... Ask any former cricketers (not critics like you) have always talked about the strength about Mumbai cricket.

  • Gaurav on June 8, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Dear rkannancrown :- can u please tell me the name of 1 average mumbai cricketer to play in Gavaskar's Captaincy?? i would love to knw the name...and above all Rohit's fielding is good not at all buttery kind...no doubts he is way behind Raina...but cant say he is poor fielder as he has taken 21 catch in 61 ODIs so far which is 0.34 catcher per match..which is good...though his bating is below standard...but he can improve...and yeah its about INDIA not about Mumbai, Chennai or Delhi...we'r talking bout International team not a state team...so no more regionalism please....and yeah one more thing "Rohit Sharma was born to Telugu speaking parents from Andhra Pradesh" so whole concept of regionalism is wrong...isnt it..???

  • Gajander on June 8, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    Finn 92 why does he need to convince you? are you the future indian selector

  • Finn on June 7, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    It got the job done but I don't think this knock proved anything for him, he still looked like he might chuck it all away at any moment and nearly did a few times. Against better bowling he would probably have been out for single figures attempting something expansive. He will need to have a really mature series with the bat with some big runs to convince me that he is more than just a twenty20 player. In terms of a future place in the Test side, it is possible but in my opinion Kolhi, Purjara,Badrinath and even Raina are ahead of him for a spot in the middle order at present so he will need to score more big runs at home and maybe even look at a stint away in some other domestic competition.

  • DaGame on June 7, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    This is directly directed to @Rohit Sharma. I see the talent but I dont see the consistency. You have to score consistently; there are enough players waiting to knock you over. Also nowadays, have to be good in atleast 2 dept if not 3. so obviously keep your fielding standards high and also keep bowling whenever/wherever you can ( just look at Kohli and Raina) .....BTW, stop making the faces when you get out. Just accept it and go ahead to pavilion.

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    I really don't understand why some of the players are always getting more chances than the others. and an average effort by them is rated so highly.

    Same is the case here. dhawan played a mature innings at the top considering it was just his 2nd ODI but not a single word of praise for him & praises are being heaped up on Rohit.

    To me Rohit has always been a sort of player who is more similar to vinod kambli in an overall perspective.

    loads of talent but pathetic attitude. Not hard working & surely success has gone to his head.

    have a look at raina & kohli. They are improving with each passing game.

  • Arulprakash on June 7, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    the wicket was not easy to play.WI Batting is weak their bowling is decent. Even i have said many times he is a Nohit sharma but give credit were its due guys he played well yesterday..Badri got tensed up as its his first ODI after 3 years and only his 4th ODI overall..give them a break they are the future after the big guns retire

  • Vivek on June 7, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    The only way Rohit will mature as a cricketer is by giving him a chance in test cricket. He should have been included in the WI test series in place of Parthiv Patel. But since he has been left out, I hope he gets a chance in the England test series. Rohit can even be a replacement opener in test matches!

  • Daison on June 7, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Well, Rohit Sharma is an IPL Bully at best. In IPL you get to deal with one good bowler and then the remaining overs bowled by part timers in international standards. There he score some runs and after each IPL starts to claim a place in the Indian Team. Gets it invariably with the Mumbai Gang backing and then fails miserably. The whole cycle repeats every year. International Games are opposite to IPL where you "might" get one part timer and rest all are quality bowlers. So there is a gap to bridge here and Rohit Sharma is at the wrong side of the Bridge. I dont know what talent people are talking about as I am yet to see it consistently when he is playing for India.

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