Languid and easy on the eye, Rohit Sharma owned all the shots in the book when he emerged from the Mumbai suburbs as heir apparent to the Indian batting greats of the 2000s. It took him time and persistence, but by the 2010s he had become a colossus in white-ball cricket, and the man in charge of perhaps the most formidable league team in the first age of T20.
That Rohit had talent was apparent to both the casual observer and to the trained eye. Fans were frustrated at the long wait for the potential to translate into runs, though selectors and captains, knowing better, kept backing him. At one point the word "talent" was Rohit's bugbear, a pejorative nickname for him on social media. Once it all clicked, though - the move to open the batting in ODIs late in 2012 was one particular turning point - things came together spectacularly.
Rohit scored ODI double-hundreds for fun, won six IPLs in the first 15 editions of the tournament, scored five hundreds at the 2019 ODI World Cup, and when he finally got to open in Tests in 2019, three quick hundreds in his first series in the role, one of them a double.
Ironically his IPL franchise nicknamed him "Hitman" when he was anything but: more caresser, less hitter. But Rohit still became known as one of the foremost hitters of colossal sixes of his era. So spectacular and certain was his acceleration that people began anticipate a massive score every time he went past 50.
His captaincy at Mumbai Indians, whom he led to five titles, won plaudits. He proved himself a methodical, studious and calm leader, one not averse to using technology and data to arrive at decisions. He was an able deputy to Virat Kohli in limited-overs formats in international cricket, winning India two titles in Kohli's absence, and took over as captain in all formats in 2022.
Rohit & his future
Questions were raised over Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli's T20I future since India's semi-final exit from the T20 World Cup last year in Australia. The experienced duo have not featured in any T20I match since then and have only been utilised in ODIs.
Now, India head coach Rahul Dravid gave an update on Rohit and Virat's shortest format future saying that Men in Blue is preparing a young side for the next T20 World Cup adding that senior players will be focused on ODI World Cup 2023 and World Test Championship (WTC).
"For us, obviously, from the last semi-final (in the T20 World Cup) that we played against England, only 3-4 boys are playing in the XI (against Sri Lanka). We are slightly in a different stage of looking at the next cycle of T20, so ours is a slightly younger team and for us to play against the quality of Sri Lanka is a fantastic experience. The good thing is that a lot of focus is on the ODI World Cup and World Test Championship, so the T20s give us the opportunity to try out these guys," Dravid said at the post-match press conference in Pune after India lost by 16 runs in the second T20I.