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The rise of 'Hitman' Rohit Sharma

India’s former Cricket captain Srikkanth once said “Rohit Sharma is probably among the top 3 or 5 openers of all time”. And this is a testament to the talent Rohit Sharma possesses. His batting was often described as effortless, free-flowing stroke play that’s easy on the eye. And it took time and effort for him to overcome the huge burden of expectation that was set on him by his cricketing fraternity.

Rohit Sharma India
Rohit Sharma (Image Credits: CricketCountry)

Born on April 30th, 1987 in Nagpur, India, Rohit Sharma started off as an off-spinner who could bat a bit. It wasn’t until his first coach Dinesh Lad spotted his batting ability and then promoted him from number 8 to open the innings. He made his List A debut for West Zone in the Deodhar Trophy. 

Although batting at number 8, He scored 31 not out, as the west zone won by 3 wickets remaining against the central zone. It was his 142 in 123 balls against North zone that brought him to the limelight later in the tournament. He then went on in making his first-class debut for India A against New Zealand in July 2006 and Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai in the 2006-2007 season.

Rohit Sharma India
Rohit Sharma (Image Credits: TheStatesman)

Rohit Sharma made his ODI debut in June 2007 against Ireland although he didn’t get to bat that match. He scored his maiden ODI half-century against Pakistan which helped him get selected for the 2007-08 Commonwealth Bank series in Australia. It was in the first final of this series, he scored 66 partnering Sachin Tendulkar for a successful Indian run chase in Sydney.

After this Rohit Sharma took a dip and his competition, Raina and Virat were preferred for the same spot in the middle order. This loss of form and making comebacks was a constant theme in Sharma’s career and it was then captained Dhoni who showed his faith in Sharma after his disastrous form in 2012 scoring 168 runs at an average of 12.92 for the whole year. 

MS Dhoni moved Rohit up to open the innings, where Rohit has been able to find his consistency and gone on to make many records.

Rohit Sharma India
Rohit Sharma (Image Credits: BCCIofficial)

Rohit Sharma made his test debut in November 2013 during Sachin’s farewell series against West Indies. He scored 177, The second-best score on debut by an Indian batsman. It was in the third test against South Africa in October 2019, Sharma scored his 2000th run along with his first double century, after making his return to tests in the 18-19 tour of Australia before which he was left out of the team since 2017-2018.

Rohit Sharma initially played for the Deccan Chargers in the inauguration of the Indian Premier League and it wasn’t until Mumbai Indians bought him for 14 crores, Sharma began making great strides. 

Today he is one of the leading run-scorers in the format with more than 5,200 runs. Scored his first century against Kolkata knight riders, Promoted to captain in 2003, going on to win 5 titles, and becoming one of the most successful captains in the Indian Premier League.

Statistics

Rohit Sharma has amassed more than 13K runs and counting in his International career, scoring 9115 runs at an avg of 49.27 from 224 matches while remaining not out in 32 innings as an opening batsman. He has played 34 test matches, scoring 2270 runs at an average of 45.40. 

He has scored 4 T20 International centuries and the only player to hit 3 Double centuries in One day International Cricket. He holds the record for the highest individual score in One day international of 264 vs Sri Lanka. And he ranks third in the list of most century scorers with 29 centuries after Sachin and Virat.

Playing Style

Rohit Sharma has an attacking style of play, aggressive batsmen with style and elegance. His natural free-flowing stroke play is very easy on the trained and untrained eyes. He is one the clean hitters of the ball, timing his shots with perfection with the ability to play any kind of shots in the textbook of cricket. 

Sunil Gavaskar once compared his batting style similar to those of Virender Sehwag and Viv Richards. Sharma is a prolific limited-overs batsman but with varying amounts of success in red-ball cricket.