MS Dhoni’s decision to make me open in ODIs was career changing, says Rohit Sharma
MS Dhoni deserves every bit of appreciation for taking a bold call and persisting with Rohit in ODIs
What’s the story?
Indian opener Rohit Sharma has termed MS Dhoni’s decision to make him open the innings in ODIs was a career-changing move for him. He also revealed that he became a better batsman after that as the move helped him understand his game better and act well to the situation that arises during the game.
I believe the decision to open in ODIs changed my career and it was a decision taken by MS Dhoni. I became a better batsman after that. In fact, it helped me understand my game better, react better according to situations. He (Dhoni) just came up to me and said ‘I want you to open the innings as I am confident that you will do well. Since you can play both cut and pull shot well, you have the qualities to succeed as an opener, revealed Rohit.
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When MS Dhoni stepped down from captaincy, Rohit sent out a tweet stating that the former skipper has influenced many cricketing careers including his own when Dhoni asked him to open the innings in ODIs in 2013.
In spite of getting many chances in ODIs, Rohit failed to cement his place in the playing XI due to poor returns and many wrote him off in 2012 in which he scored just 168 runs in 14 matches. In 2013, Rohit was asked to open for the first time in ODIs when he opened against England at Mohali and scored 83 in his very first outing at the top of the order.
The heart of the matter
Since then, there was no turning back for the right-hander as he went on to become one of the best ODI batsmen going around at the moment. As an opener, Rohit was consistent and has scored 3153 runs in 67 matches at an average of 54. He has scored 8 centuries including two double hundreds as an opener compared to just two tons before his stint at the top.
There is a massive difference in his batting as he averaged just 31.22 as a middle-order batsman scoring 2061 runs in 82 matches. According to Rohit, Dhoni was confident that he will succeed as an opener as the Mumbaikar has all the qualities to succeed as an opener.
Rohit is recovering from a thigh injury that he sustained against New Zealand in October and has completed his rehab. Though he was not included in the Indian ODI and T20I squad for the England series as he is still a few weeks away from recovering completely, the right-hander is confident of stepping on the field ahead of the Test series against Australia.
The team management will want Rohit to have some match practice at the top level before the Men in Blue under Virat Kohli begin their title defence in the 2017 Champions Trophy in June.
Without a doubt, Rohit is one of the best ODI batsmen at the moment. When everyone wrote him off, MS Dhoni believed in the talented right-hander and gave his career a much-needed break.
Dhoni’s decision to make Rohit open in ODIs was a masterstroke and the former skipper deserves every bit of appreciation for taking a bold call and persisting with Rohit in ODIs.