Rohit Sharma: I don’t think I am talented
Sachin Tendulkar’s hunger for runs. Rahul Dravid’s defensive stability. Sourav Ganguly’s leadership. Virat Kohli’s aggression.
Rohit Sharma’s talent.
These are the inseparable adjectives of Indian cricket over the past decade or so. But no one in the current Indian squad divides opinion as much as Rohit does.
Rohit’s spot in the Test batting lineup has come under increased scrutiny despite him being the second highest run scorer for India in the recent series win against Sri Lanka. After Cheteshwar Pujara’s century in the series-decider, questions were raised again on why the talented, but inconsistent, Rohit Sharma keeps the former out of the team.
Rohit has come out strong against his critics, saying he is a hard-worker first and foremost and the ‘talent’ tag is a misnomer.
“I don’t think that I am talented. This ‘talent’ talk has messed things up for me,” Rohit told DNA. “I started my career as a bowler. I was never a batsman. All this natural talent, God’s gift and all that that you guys in the media talk and write about is unfair and wrong. I have worked on my batting to get here.“
“I used to bat at No. 8. From there, I made my way up. Ask my coach, Mr Dinesh Lad, and he will tell you that I was an off-spinner. People must think before talking,” said Rohit.
Rohit spoke about how his average of 37 in his 14 Tests is not very different from that of other players in the side but he is somehow always singled out by critics for poor performances. He added that he is not ‘superhuman’ to perform in every game he plays, but commentators keep demanding it.
“I think if his critics can go back and compare the first 13 Test matches of any other cricketer who has played for a while, I think they would probably be less harsh on Rohit,” Sanjay Bangar, India’s batting coach had said recently. “I believe that in the matches he has played so far – obviously everybody wants to contribute more – he has definitely contributed to the team’s cause.”
Firstpost, in fact, did some number crunching after Bangar made those comments and the numbers do back Rohit back up. “The truth is far from being favoured by the selectors, Rohit had to wait six years from his ODI cricket debut in 2007 to play Test cricket. And the first time he was dropped was after only six Tests – two brilliant, two very poor and two mediocre ones,” we had noted.
Rohit makes the same point in his interview – that contrary to public opinion, things did not just fall in his lap.
“Whatever I have achieved is because of my hard work. All these terms like ‘lazy elegance’ have been coined by you guys [media]. Nothing comes naturally to anybody,” Rohit said. “Maybe, on TV, it comes across like that. But that’s not the right way to judge anyone. One must go deep into the story. One must get to the root of the matter. One must get to the bottom of everything before writing such things.“
He added that he admires Roger Federer as a sportsperson, precisely for that reason. He disagreed with the fans who say Federer makes tennis look easy, saying that there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes and its unfair on the athletes to put it down to them being ‘naturally gifted.’
Rohit also said that the team and management have always encouraged him to play aggressively in Tests and he will continue to play his natural attacking game in Tests. He said that it was when he got circumspect in Sri Lanka that he got out a few times.
“I will back myself and whenever I bat, I always have intent to score runs, not to just be there and survive. Sometimes, that ball could have gone a little behind him, it could have fetched me six runs but it went straight into his hands. It’s unfortunate,” Rohit had told media after his second-innings half-century in the third Test.
Rohit has often been panned by critics for not realising his true potential, but has said in the past that he felt there was little reason to react to it.What happens outside is irrelevant to me because it is not going to help my cricket. Only hard work, doing what I have been doing in the nets and getting better as a player everyday will help me, and I will stick to it,” Rohit had said in Colombo.
When pushed about the perception that he ‘throws his wicket away often’ Rohit toldDNA that it was an unfair assessment. “So, any batsman who gets out on 80, 85 or 90 has thrown it away? I worked hard for 79. Are you trying to say I told myself ‘OK, chalo, I am bored. I made 79. Let’s get out?’ Of course, I felt bad after getting out. It’s common sense.“
Rohit also spoke about how he is constantly trying to evolve as a batsman with the help of Bangar and the team’s video analyst and added that the standards he expects from himself are way higher than what the media asks from him.
credit : firstpost.