As India stand on the verge of history having won each of their ten games so far in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India captain Rohit Sharma’s focus would firmly be to get match ready and give his best in the summit clash against Australia on Sunday (November 19). However, hardcore Rohit fans and those following his journey can afford to take a moment to look back at how far Rohit has come from humble beginnings in Borivali at the outskirts of Mumbai.
When Rohit was an infant, his family had shifted to this city and with Rohit being the younger sibling in his family and his parents not financially well-off, a young Rohit grew up amid his grandparents and uncles. It helped that all his uncles had played cricket for their respective schools and colleges and Rohit too developed for the game while still a young. Seeing his fascination towards the sports and the hours he would spent playing at a stretch, his uncles decided to pool the financial resources to help him get enrolled in a cricket academy in 1999.
Staring Off As An Off-Spinner
He may well be known today in world cricket as one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball but Rohit started as an off-spinner. Spotting his talent early, his coach Dinesh Lad asked him to get an admission to a school with better cricket facilities but school fees would have been a problem for the Sharma household. However, Lad found a way to get Rohit to change the school and offered him a scholarship, exempting him to pay fees for the next four years.
Lad also realised Rohit’s batting ability after he saw him hit a few balls and then he started specific training for batting as well. When he was a spinner, he was understandably slotted lower down the order but once he got an opportunity to bat at the top of the order in an inter-school tournament, he made it count by scoring a hundred.
Soon he made the transition into Domestic Cricket. He made his debut for West Zone against Central Zone in 2005 and nothing significant came off his bat until a sensational hundred against North Zone- an innings that brought him under spotlight. The same form translated for India A during his First-Class fixtures. He was selected for the U-19 World Cup in 2006 and later for the Mumbai Ranji team.
However, Lad his childhood coach reckons that a good coach must know when to let his pupil go. He revealed that he never discussed Rohit’s game with him once he cleared his class 10 exams.
“After he passed his 10th, seldom did I discuss his cricket with Rohit. We would constantly discuss the game, but hardly his game,” Lad told Sportstar.
2013- The Year Which Changed It All For Rohit
Rohit went on to debut for India in 2007 and was part of the T20 World Cup-winning squad. However, he missed out being a member of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad as he was not selected due to his inconsistent performances. But it was really in 2013 when he was asked to open the innings by MS Dhoni in the Champions Trophy that his career got the jump and he was able to translate all the talent he had into performances.
From 2013, there has been no looking back. He would later go onto crack the Test format too after being trusted to open the innings. As a captain, Rohit has brushed aside the heartbreaks of 2022 T20 World Cup and the ICC World Test Championship final this year but as he is just one step away from his dearest dream, the entire nation prays for his success as it has been the Hitman at the top who has been setting the tone and tempo for the rest of the innings with the bat. He has been astute as a captain as well and if everything goes well, he could just be the third Indian skipper after Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni to lift a World Cup trophy.