Rohit Sharma credits IPL captaincy for turning a new leaf
After constantly being in and out of the side early in his career, Rohit Sharma has done consistently well over a year to cement his spot across formats, in the national side. The Mumbai lad believes captaining Mumbai Indians in their title-winning season in 2013 has helped him improve his game.
Rohit Sharma's talent has never been in doubt, with legends like Sunil Gavaskar and Shane Warne lauding him for his skills, but a checkered career for India has left even his most ardent fans frustrated.
Rohit has been tipped to be among India's best batsmen for years but limited success in the international arena has seen him go in and out of the team several times.
However, the 26-year-old Mumbai batsman finally sealed a permanent place in the national side over the last one year, on the back of two hundreds in his first two Tests and an ODI double hundred against Australia. After months of inconsistency, Rohit finally found form and has credited it to his appointment as Mumbai Indians captain during the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League.
"The IPL captaincy gave me lot of confidence and it helped me when I played international cricket. I had a good home series but the tours of South Africa and New Zealand did not go as expected," Rohit told the Indian Express. "Test cricket is very different and I realised it post South Africa tour. I don't want to give any excuse but I was disappointed with the way I batted.
"I went to South Africa after scoring two Test hundreds at home. Instead of trying to trying to spend more time at the crease, I played my shots. The way I was getting out was wrong and it was my mistake," Rohit said.
The stylish right-handed batsman acknowledged that there were problems with his batting overseas and tried to make amends in the Asia Cup and the recently concluded ICC World T20, where he finished with an impressive tally of 200 runs from six games, including two half-centuries.
Rohit is also aware that most of his success since 2013 has come in India and his problems on bouncier pitches have continued - there is a case for further improvement and he is not shying away from admitting it. The tours of South Africa and New Zealand, Rohit said, helped him and his young teammates understand the significance of playing one session at a time.
"When you play in India the ball comes nicely to bat but that's not the case away from home. I'm just six Test matches old. Playing Tests abroad was a new experience not only for me but for everyone. Except Zaheer Khan and MS Dhoni, most of the players did not have the experience of playing outside the sub-continent. We understood the importance of each session," he said.
Rohit has been lucky to have been around the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in the course of his IPL career and he now has a chance to learn firsthand from Michael Hussey, the nuances of consistency.
"On a personal note, I'm looking forward to learning from Hussey how he manages to be so consistent," Rohit said of his newest Mumbai Indians teammate.
Come April 16, Rohit will lead his Mumbai Indians side against former champions Kolkata Knight Riders with the hope to continue from the highs of their successful campaign in 2013.