August 16, 2017 8:34:38 pm
Ten years after making his debut for the Indian cricket team, Rohit Sharma was finally in the leadership group when the opener was appointed the vice-captain for the five ODIs and only T20I against Sri Lanka. The right-hander was honoured to get the position and is looking forward to it.
“It’s an honour to be appointed vice-captain. Ten years ago, I was only thinking about playing for India. Being vice-captain now feels really good,” Rohit said at a press conference in Pallekele. Rohit didn’t play a single Test in the visitors’ 3-0 sweep of the hosts but was part of the squad.
“Whenever the opportunity comes, in the first one-day international on August 20, there will be some sort of role I have to play. I’m looking forward to it. Rather than thinking too much about it, I just want to enjoy the moment.”
Captaincy is nothing new to Rohit as he has successfully led the Mumbai Indians to three IPL titles in five years. He understands the difference between IPL and international cricket but asserts that the excitement and energy remain the same.
“IPL is a completely different ball game and international cricket is completely different,” he said. “But, yes, the excitement and energy remain the same, so nothing changes too much. In the IPL, I was captain, so I was more in front; here, I have to play a little behind-the-scenes role, but yes, I’ll be very excited to step on to the field as vice-captain of the Indian team.”
Rohit is yet to cement his Test spot and has been in and out of the playing XI. He was looking to make the no.6 position his own in the home season last year but an injury hurt his cause and he was ruled out for the remainder of the long home stretch. He did return for the Lanka tour but the management went ahead with Hardik Pandya.
“Nobody likes to sit out, but it all depends on the team dynamics, and what the captain and coach want, and you got to accept the fact and move forward,” Rohit said. “I kept working on my skills and tried to see where I can improve as a cricketer. You can’t sit here and waste time. All I was trying to do these past three-four weeks was to just improve my skills, see where things are going wrong, and try and strengthen the strengths I have talking to all the coaches there. They’ve been looking after us for a long time and they know what exactly has been going on with each individual. You always try to improve as a cricketer. It was great to watch everyone displaying their skills and winning 3-0 outside India. Great achievement.”
With Sri Lanka going heavy on spin, picking as many as five spinners in their ODI squad, Rohit gave extra importance to the sweep shot during the team’s training session on Wednesday.
“It’s something that the game demands these days, you’ve got to be innovative and play different kinds of shots to get maximum results,”Rohit said. “Like I said, you keep learning every day, so I have been trying to see what I can bring into my armoury. Every addition to your armoury is a good thing, and what better place than coming here and doing it. That’s what training sessions are for – to improve your skills and try and get better as a player.”
Rohit recalled his ten years in international cricket and said the time flew but made him experience various ups and downs. “It’s gone very fast, those 10 years. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but that’s how it is for any sportsman. That’s how it should be, you get to learn a lot more from ups and downs, it teaches you lot many things.
“Every day is a learning day. Today, I got to learn something playing those sweeps and reverse sweeps. That’s the opportunity I always wait for, to get on to the field and learn something. Initially, in limited-overs, I used to play too many shots at once. Now, I have realised it cannot be just about going out there and slogging every time, you’ve got to understand the situation and conditions. That is something I have learned these few years with the help of so many coaches around. I will continue to learn, you never stop learning. That’s the greatest part about this sport. There’s lot more to do and I look forward to it.”
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