‘I am not at a stage to worry about whether I’ll be picked or not’ – Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma mistimes a pull (Getty Images)

India’s limited-overs run-machine Rohit Sharma says there is no point fretting over his start-stop Test career as “half” of his playing days are over. Rohit now just wants to enjoy the remainder of his playing career.

Rohit Sharma mistimes a pull (Getty Images)

“There’s limited time you have as a player and I have finished almost half of it. There’s no point in spending the remaining half thinking whether I’ll be picked or not. I am going forward with the theory of ‘whatever time I have, make it count’,” Rohit told PTI, referring to his below-par record in international red-ball cricket.

Despite possessing an impressive record in limited-overs cricket, including three ODI double-hundreds, Rohit has failed to click in the longest format of the game, scoring just 1479 runs at an average of 39.97 from the 25 Tests he has played. Following an inconsistent show in South Africa at the start of 2018, Rohit was left out of India’s squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bengaluru, starting June 14. He doesn’t have any complaints, saying he is at a stage of his career where he can’t think about selection.

“For me, I am not at a stage to worry about whether I’ll be picked or not. I need to enjoy my game. The first five-six years of my career, it was all about ‘oh, will I be picked? Will I play?’ Now it’s all about enjoying the game. These things keep adding pressure on you. Instead it’s best to enjoy yourself in what you do and give your best.

“I got into the national team when I was 20 and I made my Test debut when I was 26. I had an opportunity to make my debut in 2010, but I missed that [due to a freak injury while warming up on the morning of the match]. After that, it made me realise that the more you want, your attitude changes. I have realised there’s a time for everything.

“There has to be time and a slot available for it. The seniors – Sachin [Tendulkar], Rahul [Dravid], VVS [Laxman] and Sourav [Ganguly] – were all playing then, so we had to wait. After a point, I realised there’s no point thinking about it. No point in thinking about what the selectors are doing and all.”

Asked whether he was surprised by his axing from the Test squad for the Afghanistan match, he replied: “I was not. As I said, I can only keep enjoying my game. There’s no time to regret anything. I’ve had enough time to regret in the past. We have got big events coming up, so best to focus on it.”

Rohit also didn’t have the best IPL this season while leading Mumbai Indians, failing to take his side to the playoffs.

And the flamboyant right-hander admitted that he failed to live up to his own expectations with the bat.

“A disappointing campaign without a doubt. I said many a times during the season that this team was much, much better. I think we had a much better squad than most of the other teams who went on to qualify also. But again, we have ourselves to blame for it. We made too many mistakes,” he said.

“And personally for me, it was not a great season. I expected a lot from the standards I have set for myself and the kind of performance I have had lately. I gave myself full chance to go out there and do what I could. I started off well with a few innings and then towards the end when it was needed the most, it didn’t happen, so that was disappointing,” he said.

He was particularly critical about his shot selection.

“Shot selection,” said Rohit when asked about his area of concern with his batting in the IPL. “But again, shot selection is something that will be talked about when the results are not going your way. But those shots when I play in the first over of the match and it goes out of the stadium, it gets you that momentum the team is looking for.

“You have to back yourself to do that. I backed myself but it didn’t come off. When it comes off, you win games; when it doesn’t, you lose. I have been in that situation too often,” he added.

Rohit refused to buy the theory that he is a white-ball specialist.

“By no means. As a child, all I dreamt of was to play Test cricket and that dream will never be over. Nobody can take away my game or what I think about the game,” Rohit said.

“Selectors can do what is best in their control, players will do what is in their control. It’s important to keep focus. When I started playing cricket, there was no white ball cricket. We used to play in school, in age-group cricket with red ball. White ball came much later. As a child, you only saw red ball cricket.”

Rohit termed Mumbai Indians’ performance this season as “inconsistent” and said it’s time to reflect upon the year and come out stronger in the next edition.

“I thought we were a little inconsistent in whatever we did as a team. We should have put out hands up when needed, including myself, but that didn’t happen, so that was disappointing,” he said. “But again, these things can happen and all you can do is to learn from it and be better at when you are thrown into that situation again.”(PTI)



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