The Indian Premier League has exposed one more facet of the talented Rohit Sharma.
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As Mumbai Indian's stand-in skipper, the Indian batting star is making quite an impression with his leadership skills. Sharma also is among the leading run-getters of IPL 2013.
The 60-run victory against IPL pacesetters Chennai Super King at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday only justified the faith and belief the Mumbai team management had on Sharma when he was pitchforked as captain when an out-of-form Ricky Ponting opted out.
On Sunday, Mumbai defended a modest 139 and even though Kieron Pollard cornered the unique distinction of dropping a hattrick of catches. Sharma marshaled his bowlers well to skittle out hi-flying Chennai for a paltry 79.
"Chennai Super Kings have been playing extremely consistent cricket since the first season and it's always a challenge to play them. They do bring out the best in us and it's always very sweet to beat them," Sharma told the official IPL T20 website.
Defending 139 is never easy against a batting unit that flaunts three of the top batsmen in the tournament. To knock out Chennai not only needed great bowling skills but creative ideas from the captain as well. On Sunday, all of Sharma's bowling ploys clicked as Mitchell Johnson ran through the CSK top order with three for 27.
So is captaincy doing him a world of good?
Sharma tells the website: "Yes, it actually is. It's a very good start that I have got. Out of five games I have won four and lost one. I would take that result as a captain. But I am not going to relax. We still need to play good cricket for the next five games and get to the play-offs comfortably."
Many see Sharma as the reincarnation of Captain Cool. He has performed with the bat, Sharma is the third highest run-getter with 414 with a top score of 79 not out, and held his nerves in tense games. Except for an odd occasion where he flung his bat after a mix-up with Dinesh Karthik, Sharma's body language has been 'in control.'
"I try not to over-think and keep it simple. I've realised that you've got to be calm on the field, to be able to take the right decisions," Sharma said, adding: "As captain I have an additional responsibility to lead from the front with the bat and I have to be calm.
"Having said that, I try not to put pressure on myself thinking I have too much on my plate. I just want to keep enjoying myself in both aspects of my responsibility and ensure that Mumbai Indians do well."
With the business end of the IPL coming up and every game in the final four stages going to be a knockout, Sharma's capabilities as skipper and captain will come up for some acid test.