For a batsman who started as a possible replacement for Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma has come a long way. He has been in and out of form; his inconsistency can be related to a sine wave. Yet, as captain of the Mumbai Indians, he has come good, and will be trying to make the stint a stepping stone to revive his international career.
After coming into the limelight as a youngster in the 2006 Ranji season, he was one of the main factors behind India’s victory in the 2007 T20 World Cup. He slowly but steadily began to cement his place in the ODI team, and a Test call was just a matter of time.
But for a batsman of his calibre, he was highly inconsistent. He was good in patches in the CB series in Australia, but his performance suffered again, and finally he lost his place to the likes of Suresh Raina and to another budding youngster, Virat Kohli.
In the ensuing years, right up to today, he has been in-and-out of the international team. Though he is technically correct, his form has suffered more often than not, thanks in part to his injuries which have plagued him every now and then.
In IPL, he was the mainstay of the Deccan Chargers team. Coming in at number four, he played many crucial knocks to guide his team to victory. He was also successful as a part-time bowler, managing to take a hat-trick.
After MI bought him in the 2011 auction, he became the mainstay of their middle order. He played some blinding knocks, including one in which he hit 21 runs off the last over while chasing a huge target, and leading his team to victory in the process.
In the 2013 IPL, after a dismal string of performances from Ricky Ponting, the-then captain of MI, Sharma was made the captain. It was a surprising move, but effective nevertheless.
As a captain, be bought the best out of himself and his team-mates. Blessed with extraordinary team strength, he managed his resources well, be it using Lasith Malinga or any tactical field change. Even his batting took an up-swing, as he scored about 500 runs in the sixth edition of IPL, and eventually lead MI to victory.
Many considered the victory a fluke. But he has again showed off his excellent captaincy skills by leading MI to the semi-finals of the ongoing CLT20. Mind you, MI needed 150 off 14 overs to get selected, and Rohit, with the help of Dwayne Smith, managed to get there within 13 overs.
Though Rohit’s career has been a bit like a child prodigy losing his way, the MI captaincy stint has definitely helped him. Even his place in the ODI team is somewhat assured, in the unusual position of an opener. I believe that in the coming ODIs against Australia, he will definitely prove his mettle at the international level, and slowly cement his place in the team.