Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 32 — Rohit Sharma

Thank you so much for your participation in this interview, tell us your memories of watching cricket growing up.

First of all, thank you for choosing me for this interview. It’s a pleasure having conversations around the sport I love and the sportsperson I admire.
So coming straight to your question, my very first memory of cricket which I remember quite well was 2007 world cup. I know Indian team was going through a low but then time changed and the 2007 T20 World Cup came and made me believe how beautiful this sport is. I clearly remember when India won that tournament and that feeling was unmatched. From that day I never looked back. This sport became a constant part of my life. Started watching every match that India played to try and follow all international matches, the journey grew.

Have you been fortunate enough to watch an international match live in a stadium? If yes, which match was going on at what venue?

Yes, I have been lucky enough. Twice I got the opportunity to watch the action live in a stadium. First one was India v Sri Lanka in 2009, though this match was called off after some odd 20 overs, and the second one was Ind v NZ in 2017. Feroz Shah Kotla was the venue for both these matches.

When was the first time you watched Rohit Sharma bat? And when was the first time you actually started following him and his career?

So the first time when I saw Rohit bat was way back in 2007 during T20 WC. I was amazed by the fact that this 20-year-old lad is playing decently well. But I didn’t become his fan then. It happened in 2009 when I again noticed him during IPL playing for Deccan Chargers. I was awestruck by his skills and always prayed that somehow he manages to become a part of Mumbai Indians.

Rohit Sharma’s batting career started off really well as he was a part of the 2007 World T20 squad and performed well in South Africa, then he went to Australia in 2008 and performed well there too, but then he just couldn’t make it to the squad for the 2011 World Cup, must have been tough for him.

Gonna be really honest. It hurts like hell when you see your favourite player not performing well. When he wasn’t picked for WC 2011, I somehow managed and told myself that It’s okay he’s just a newbie, he’ll get more chances in future. It’s World Cup and it’s more important than individuals but after WC, I desperately wanted him to perform in every match he played but it didn’t went that way. But then came MS’s masterstroke and he was promoted as an opener and I prayed that he performs well anyhow and he did.

Rohit Sharma and double centuries are a match made in heaven. Share us your memories of each of the 200 that he scored in ODI’s.

So his very first double century came against Australia that too in a series decider. I remember it was Diwali that day and I was watching that match with my dad. Meanwhile, my dad was criticising him for playing slow and eventually for that run-out and my mom was ranting about not helping her but I kept my calm, sat a constant place and believed him and he kept my belief. When he completed his 200 I screamed with joy and my eyes were filled with tears. That feeling of very first 200 is different, totally different.

Coming to his second double century, he came back after an injury which kept him away from the game for quite a long time and all of us including him wanted him to perform well desperately and SL bowler became a victim of his shots that day haha. It was a crazy yet calculated innings. I clearly remember I was in the hospital that day because I was suffering from typhoid but still I don’t know how I managed to watch the whole match but I did. I guess it was that match only which helped me recover fast.

And when he hit his 3rd double ton, to be honest, I was getting a strong intuition that he’ll perform exceptionally well as he was captaining the side too and it happened, the 3rd double ton came and since I was watching this match with my friends precisely a Rohit fan, we partied that day.
Let’s hopes these numbers of double tons just increase every year.

5 centuries in 9 matches for India in the World Cup, that is a huge statement, isn’t it?

Of course, five centuries in a single world cup edition is a huge deal. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. These centuries came in different situations. It would have been a dream world cup for him if the results in semis were in our favour. It still hurts when I think about those scenes in the dugout that day. He gave his all but didn’t finish the way he wanted to. Gosh, you made me emotional with this question, I was back into that zone all again.
Now let’s move to the next one fast.

There is only one format where he has failed to establish himself because of various reasons, what according to you is the reason why he hasn’t quite made a mark in Tests yet.

Frankly speaking, I won’t try and hide the fact Rohit still needs to make that impact and virtue he holds in limited-overs cricket in tests.
According to what I think and how I feel, one of the reasons why he still didn’t make it that big in red-ball cricket is that he never got more than three consecutive chances before he was tried as an opener. I know he’s a well established white-ball player, but every format has its own challenges and one needs time to adapt that. It doesn’t happen overnight like that. For example in 2018 vs SA in the second test match in 4th innings, he played a decent knock of 47 runs when no else performed in that innings but still he was dropped in the next match. Things don’t happen this way.
But let it be, now he’s playing as an opener in tests too and even got results. Let’s hope that he achieves that mark and even much higher than that mark.

And now Rohit Sharma has been awarded Khel Ratna for his excellency in 2019 World Cup for India, your message to him.

Ohh god why is it so tough to jot down a message for him because no words can do justice to what I’m feeling, but still I would try to put it in words. I would just say that-

Thank you so much Rohit for making each one of us so proud. This feeling is precious, watching you achieve so much and there’s no stopping to it. As your fan, your success and failure, both of them feel personal so hoping for more highs and zero lows for in future. Hope so you capture your dream of winning that world cup trophy.

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