Rohit Sharma has long been regarded as one of the finest talents to have donned India colours. He had a topsy-turvy initial few years in international cricket and despite a number of knocks of significance, consistency was a virtue that eluded Sharma for most part initially. Ever since the Mumbai batsman was asked to open the innings by skipper MS Dhoni in 2013, he became a completely different player carving a niche in the limited overs side owing to some stellar performances.
Rohit has a world record 3 double centuries to his name in ODIs and displayed remarkable consistency in 2019 wherein he scored 1490 runs (the most in 2019) at an average of 57.31 with 7 hundreds and 6 fifties.
Initial struggle amidst glimpses of genius
Sharma caught everyone’s attention in the initial stage of his career with the shot-making ability he possessed. Coming through the grinds of Mumbai’s famous cricketing maidans, the young right-hander was considered a possible heir to the legend Sachin Tendulkar and did show glimpses of his much-talked about cricketing talent. His performances in the 2007 T20 World Cup and subsequent handy contributions in the 2008 tour of Australia, where he played alongside Sachin, were strong evidence of the talent he possessed.
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The big question though was the temperament. Having been inducted into the Indian side at the age of 20, and with big hopes pinned on him, it was always a tough ask to expect Sharma to show the maturity that would do justice to his abilities with the bat.
The performances reflected this fact – from 2007 till 2012, Rohit (batting in the middle-order) played 86 ODIs for the country scoring 1978 runs with just 2 hundreds and 12 fifties.
2013 Champions Trophy: Beginning of a dream journey
Rohit Sharma’s career will always be divided into 2 halves – before and after 2013. The Indian team management, under MS Dhoni’s leadership, backed the right-hander to open the innings for the first time in ICC Champions Trophy in England during the 2013 event. The fact that India went on to win the championship, defeating England in the finals, courtesy a strong showing from the newly-formed opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Sharma made sure that the Mumbai-born cricketer earned another shot at rewriting his destiny.
A few months after the victory in England, Sharma wreaked havoc against the touring Aussies, scoring 141* and 209 and becoming the 3rd Indian to score a double hundred in ODIs. A year later, he managed to better his tally amassing an astonishing 264 against Sri Lanka that saw him create numerous world records.
Since 2013, Sharma has seen a golden run in limited overs cricket which has seen him score 6966 runs and 26 hundreds including 3 double hundreds.
2019: A year that saw Virat Kohli well behind his deputy
The Indian vice-captain in white-ball cricket achieved the pinnacle of success with the bat in 2019, becoming the highest run-scorer in one-day internationals this year with 1490 runs in 28 games. He was also the highest run scorer in the 2019 ICC World Cup held in England scoring 648 runs averaging 81 with 5 centuries to his credit. That fact that he leapt well past skipper Virat Kohli in terms of runs scored in 2019 highlights an amazing year Sharma has been through. More significantly, it was pleasing to see the opener make a dream start in the Test matches at the top-order, wherein he scored 3 centuries along with a highest score of 212.
We all know how badly the opener would have loved to lift the World Cup trophy, one thing that eludes him in an otherwise cabinet rich of prized possessions. Though not someone to dwell too much on the past, Sharma would be looking forward to continue his dream run in the coming year and, being the senior player in the side, will surely look to set the record straight on the overseas tours to come.Published 26 Dec 2019, 12:51 IST