Rohit Sharma will be captaining India for the 100th time todayLUCKNOW: The nation’s World Cup march is being driven by one man’s relentless need to translate vision into reality.In Indian cricket’s theatre of dreams, Rohit Sharma is both lead actor and stage manager. Other captains appear keen to win the coveted trophy for their team. Rohit seems propelled by some invisible force, like a man on a mission.
India captain Rohit Sharma, a colossus in white-ball cricket
Amid all the loose ends, unexpected turns and memorable highs of his career, Rohit now appears keen to craft a legacy as leader.And, maybe, erase some hurt in the bargain.Rohit the captain is a recent phenomenon. His leadership credentials stem from his reputation as a master huntsman of IPL trophies for the Mumbai Indians. So it is worth noting that Sunday’s game against England will be his 100th as India captain across formats.It is a rare century, one that Rohit will be proud of. He has led in 39 ODIs (76.31% wins), 51 T20Is (76.47%) and 9 Tests (71.42%). India have been victorious in 73 of the 99 international matches in which Rohit has held the conductor’s baton.
In this World Cup, the team is on a 5-0 roll, with Rohit’s adroit bowling and fielding changes and clever use of match-ups coming in for praise. Against Bangladesh, Rohit’s intervention and clever rotation of Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj prompted Nasser Hussain to say on air, “It’s a bit like the batting, where he has the attacking option. It’s the same with his captaincy.”Rohit isn’t just the team’s brain. He is its heart too as opener, remoulding himself to suit what he feels the team requires – quickfire starts which consign staid notions of early accumulation and late assaults to the bin. Rohit has taken it upon himself to chase and then tame risk.
It is an approach which necessitates that Rohit put a lesser price on his wicket, but what is a leader unless he is willing to sacrifice? People close to him say the captain is a master planner who doesn’t like leaving anything to chance. If that is true, this new Powerplay batting template is a bold approach indeed, introducing an element of chaos by design.Who better to attempt the task than the captain himself, who possesses the power to make, undo and remake his technique, all on his own. Like he did after being left out of the 2011 World Cup winning squad.Rohit has often pointed out how self-reliance shaped his success. This extends completely to his batting, and to an extent the captaincy. He is meticulous in his preparation. He knows his limitations. He is no stranger to hardship. Ricky Ponting, who had a long association with Rohit at MI, recently told the ICC, “We can’t say the pressure won’t get to them (India) at some stage, or that it won’t affect them, because it will. But he (Rohit) will take it and cope with it as well as anyone.”Rohit can do this because he is fastidious. No wonder youngsters like Kuldeep Yadav and Tilak Varma gravitate to him. Rohit can lend a helping hand without mincing his words.
Even the veterans have flourished under him: in ODIs, Kohli averages 51.75 under Rohit, in ODIs, Kohli averages 51.75 under Rohit, with four hundreds. KL Rahul averages 59.90. The younger lot – Gill, Kuldeep, Siraj – has played a pivotal role, making it the perfect blend.
The continued spotlight on Rohit’s exclusion from the 2011 WC-winning squad makes it hard to remember that Rohit does have an important World Cup win under his belt – he was part of the squad in the inaugural World T20 in South Africa in 2007, also under Dhoni.That 2011 exclusion, though, left lasting scars and led to a period of soul-searching. Captaining India to a win in this World Cup might help with the healing. Either way, the son of Gurunath, the caretaker of a warehouse, will have safeguarded a nation’s cricketing ambitions.