The lesser known story of Rohit Sharma
He was once not fortunate enough to be raised by his parents- partly because of his family’s poverty and partly because of his passion for sports. He didn’t have enough money to pay his school fees but Rohit Sharma was a dreamer from his childhood.
Rohit was born on 30th April 1987 and while his father, Gurunath Sharma was a care taker at a firm at that point of time, his mother, Purnima Sharma was a housewife. When Rohit was just one and a half years old, his family shifted to Dombivali and since his parents couldn't really manage the expenses of two children, Rohit spent most of his time with his grandparents and uncles.
Obviously, the love for the game was always there. As a child, he would play cricket for hours at a stretch and discuss cricket with his family, which was full of sport lovers. In fact, all his uncles had played cricket for their schools and colleges. Seeing his inclination towards cricket, Rohit’s uncles and friends pitched in some money to help him join a small cricket academy in 1999.
Now known for his seemingly effortless stroke play, Rohit started off as an off spinner until coach Dinesh Lad asked him to change his school and join Swami Vivekananda International School, keeping in mind the better coaching and training facilities there. At first Rohit was hesitant about joining the new school as he knew it would be an expensive affair and he knew his family won’t be able to afford the school fee.
But if one has it in them, then life does give them their share of chances. Coach Dinesh Lad somehow arranged a scholarship for Rohit and he was exempted from paying fees for the next four years. Lad soon realized the potential in Rohit’s batting and told him to focus on his batting as well.
From someone who would bat at no. 8 and 9, Rohit was asked to open the batting and he delivered on Coach Lad’s confidence scoring an unbeaten 120 in his first Inter-School match as an opener. In the four years he spent in this school, Rohit was busy improving his batting technique and he looked better on the eye every time he held the bat in his hand.
It was time for him to make his debut in Domestic Cricket for West zone against Central Zone in the Deodhar Trophy of 2005. However, it was only when he scored a brilliant 142 off 123 balls against North Zone in Udaipur that people started noticing him. He carried his good form when he made his First Class appearances with India A.
Finally, he made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2006-2007. Although he had an ordinary run in the Ranji Trophy, his double century against Gujrat was one of the highlights of the season, but barring that, he did not have a memorable season.
However, with selectors being able to see the potential in Rohit Sharma, the 20-year old was drafted into the limited overs side for India’s tour to Ireland and it was here that he made his International debut, in a game in which he did not get to bat.
The first major breakthrough in his career was when he helped India win against South Africa by scoring a half century in a must win game in the inaugural T-20 World Cup. This was his first Man of the Match performance in International arena.
For all the talent that he showed in domestic cricket, Rohit couldn’t justify his place in the Indian National team and was in and out of the team for 5 frustrating years and even missed out on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Till December 2012, Rohit had played 81 innings and scored less than 2000 runs at an average of just 30 with only 2 centuries alongside his name, both of them coming against an underdog Zimbabwe.
This was a very difficult period for Rohit but when he got the opportunity to play as opener in the Champions Trophy, Rohit grabbed it with both hands and hasn’t looked back ever since.
Today, Rohit is the vice-captain of the Indian Team in limited overs cricket but hasn’t quite replicated his success in Test Matches. However, wth Rohit, you just get the feeling that it is not yet over for him in Test Cricket.
Next time you see Rohit play his trade mark pull short from the front foot, remember, it is not his story alone, it is the tale of parents who could not afford the expense of a couple of children, of uncles who had played cricket but couldn’t quite make it big, of his grandparents who saw him grow up, of his coach- who saw something in him before anybody could and more importantly it is the story of self-belief and hard work.
The only man to have scored three ODI double hundreds, it is the 'Hitman'- Rohit Sharma.