'I respond well to responsibility'

Rohit Sharma says he has learned to look beyond criticism and focus on the job at hand.

New Delhi: Critics have often questioned the Indian team management for continuing with Rohit Sharma in the national ODI team despite his repeated failures.

While nobody ever questioned his talent, they felt that Rohit was one of those players who had oodles of talent, but never managed to convert it into performance on the field.

But luckily for Rohit, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has time and again backed the Mumbai batsman and also made it clear that those with exceptional talent need that extra bit of backing and support. And in the last six months, Rohit has finally proved Dhoni right. Not only has he proved to be the perfect foil for the swashbuckling Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order, he has also gone ahead and silenced all the detractors.

Speaking to Mail Today, Rohit made it clear that while it took him time, he has definitely matured with age and learned to focus more on what he does best — give the Indian team a perfect start every time he goes out there in the middle with Dhawan.

“Honestly, I’ve learnt to take criticism in my stride. It’s part and parcel of the game and I try not to focus too much on what’s being said about me. My job is to go out there and enjoy my game and do well for the team and I concentrate on the task at hand,” he said.

Even though the silken drives and the wristy flicks were always a part of his repertoire, he was always considered as a batsman who was one ball away from playing a rash shot and getting out.

But not with the revamped Rohit — clearly evident on the slow and sluggish wickets in the Caribbean Islands in June where he was more than willing to sweat it out. The sense of calm was clearly visible.

While many critics felt that the skipper’s tag of the Mumbai Indians ahead of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League would further burden him, Rohit feels that it has actually made him more responsible and humble.

“Yes, most definitely. The responsibility of leading a side like Mumbai Indians who have some of the biggest names in world cricket on their roster is humbling. I respond well to responsibility. I’ve always thought strategically when I played and it’s nice to be able to actually implement those strategies and see them work out in my favour,” the 26-year-old said.

“Every player dreams of leading his side, but there’s always that slight fear that you won’t be as good at it as you think, but I’m really happy with the way things played out for me and hearing people say captaincy has made me humble.”

While Dhoni has publicly backed Rohit, even team-mate Virat Kohli recently said that Rohit is far more talented than himself. Kohli went on to add that not having a fixed spot in the batting order till recently was hampering Rohit’s rise. Rohit is glad to have such supportive team-mates.

“It’s nice to hear that from your team-mate. This shows we enjoy each others' success and there’s a positive vibe in our dressing room which is always a good sign. I don’t know if that is what has helped, but players should be mentally prepared to bat wherever the team needs them to, it gives your team more options to play with. But, yes, fixed batting positions do help,” he said.

Indian cricketers don’t often get a break thanks to the hectic international schedule, but this time round, things were different as the players got a two-month long break. And while sometimes a player wants the momentum to carry on and not get broken by a break, Rohit begs to differ. He feels that a break is always welcome.

“It absolutely helps. Your body and mind definitely benefit from a little time off. Concentration is all in the mind. Even when I’m on break, I keep my gym routine fairly regular so that I don’t slack off. You have to have a balance and maintain that balance whether you’re touring or on a holiday,” he signed off.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »