The IPL has always brought out the best in Rohit Sharma the batsman – he is the second most prolific run-scorer in the tournament after Suresh Raina. In IPL 2013, we are getting to see a different aspect of Rohit’s game – his leadership.
Leading the high-profile and most passionately followed IPL team, Mumbai Indians, Rohit has displayed tremendous calmness and maturity. It’s a tricky job to captain a team with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh, among an array of experienced overseas players. It’s even trickier to take over from one of the most successful international captains of all times – Ricky Ponting.
But the 26-year-old Indian batsman has not disappointed. In what Rohit rates as one of his more satisfying wins as captain, the Mumbai Indians defeated Chennai Super Kings by a whopping 60 runs in front of their adoring home crowd. After the match a pleased Rohit spoke to iplt20.com about the magnitude of the win, experience of captaining the team and its effect on his batting.
How big is this win, breaking CSK’s seven-match winning streak?
This was a big game for us and we really wanted to win it. But before the game we discussed that we need to be relaxed and not think of it as a big game. We knew that if we stayed cool, expressed ourselves and played to our potential, we would win easily. That’s what happened.
Do you think MI vs CSK is turning out to be the biggest rivalry of IPL?
It’s good for the spectators to watch. Chennai Super Kings have been playing extremely consistent cricket since the first season and it’s always a challenge to play them. They do bring out the best in us and it’s always very sweet to beat them.
Captaincy is doing wonders to you in this IPL, isn’t it?
Yes, it actually is. It’s a very good start that I have got. Out of five games I have won four and lost one. I would take that result as a captain. But I am not going to relax. We still need to play good cricket for the next five games and get to the Play-Offs comfortably.
What kind of a captain would you say you are?
I try not to over-think and keep it simple. I’ve realised that you’ve got to be calm on the field, to be able to take the right decisions. As a captain you don’t get much time in this format. You have to be quick in shuffling your plans and rotating your bowlers, at the same time, give your players the space they want.
This maturity and calmness that you require in captaining the team in such a fast-paced format, is it helping you as a batsman in any way?
It is. As captain I have an additional responsibility to lead from the front with the bat and I have to be calm. Having said that, I try not to put pressure on myself thinking I have too much on my plate. I just want to keep enjoying myself in both aspects of my responsibility and ensure that Mumbai Indians do well.
How do you approach a T20 innings as a batsman?
I understand one very important thing that in this format you have a lot more time as a batsman than you think you do. People say it’s a short format but if you think deeply and look at it closely, you will realise that you still have a lot of time as a batsman. So, I take my time and when I am required to go after the bowlers, I do that. In a T20 game it’s very important to analyse the match situation.