Rohit Sharma traded caution for aggression to add another dimension to his shot and the Indian captain is happy with the results, even if he doesn't need the daddy hundreds to do so. By the end of the 2019 World Cup, Rohit had scored 27 hundredths, but over the past four years he has only added three more hundredths to his tally. The captain largely believes this is due to the high-risk game he took on. “I wanted to take more risks, so my numbers are a bit different now,” Rohit said in an exclusive interview with PTI. “My (ODI) hit rate (during this time) has gone up, but the average has gone down a bit. That's exactly what our hitting coach (Vikram Rathour) told me: ‘You made big runs because of the way you hit.' In all these years and in the last couple of years that kind of thing (big runs) hasn't happened because you take risks,” added the skipper.
Rohit is the only player to have scored three double hundreds – 209 (v Australia, 2013), 264 (v Sri Lanka, 2014) and 208* (v Sri Lanka, 2017).
His last win over 150 came in 2019 against the West Indies at Vizag.
Rohit said that at some point he had to make compromises.
“My career hit rate is around 90 (89.97), but if you look at my results and factor in the hit rate, it's been around 105-110 for the past several years. So you had to compromise somewhere. It's not possible to have a 55 average and a 110 batting average.” This high-risk game is also a process of self-discovery, Rohit said.
“It was entirely my decision. My usual shot is still my patent, but I wanted to try something different. I am very satisfied with the result.”
In fact, he had communicated his changed approach to the team management.
“Everyone wants to hit long and hit those 150s and 170s. I still want to do this, but it's always nice to do something you haven't done before. It just fits into the list of punching skills. Unless you do it, you won't know.
“I know if I play risky shots I'll fold a couple of times, but I didn't care. I've told management that's how I want to play.” An extension of this was the courses where the Indian team played friendly matches at home. They weren't exactly hitting friendly and the Indian skipper has been the team's most consistent Test hitter of late.
“Look at my recent Test innings in India. I can tell you that batting in India is now much harder than batting abroad, especially in the last two to three years. “The pitches we have played on are more demanding than overseas. That's why we didn't talk about runs and stroke unit averages. We all agreed that we want to play on challenging courses. I don't want to worry about what average scores we end up with.
“That's how I think, but different players will have different thought processes and I don't want to change that. I will play on pitches that suit our bowlers,” he explained.
He has captained the Mumbai Indians for 11 years and has managed the national team for almost two years.
So do captains have durability? “There is no shelf life,” he replied with conviction.
“You take on a responsibility, you produce a result and more importantly, you are satisfied with the responsibility that has been entrusted to you. Those are more important questions than durability.” He's a planner, but he also likes to trust his gut feeling.
“I am a person who goes with the flow. I want to do what I'm feeling right now without thinking about what I want to do five or six months later. I like to take things as they come, but prepare according to what's in store in the future.
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