Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 34 — Rohit Sharma

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

First of all, thanks for having me. My love for cricket came from my dad, who’s a huge cricket fan.  Those days, there wasn’t a TV at my home, I used to go to my friend’s house to watch India’s matches, my friends and I used to sit together and watch on DD national and used to listen to cricket commentary on Radio too. 2007 WC was the first major tournament which I watched and the way everyone celebrated after winning and the satisfaction in my heart that our team won made me fall in love with this game.

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

I remember watching him for the first time against South Africa in T20 World Cup 2007. He made everyone notice him with the shots he played and that’s how I noticed him too. I didn’t become his fan there, but I really liked him because of his style and timing. I had a feeling that this guy will do well in the future. He was growing as a cricketer after the T20 WC and so was my love for him. I became his fan after the CB series in Australia and the way he played in the first final of that series. No one can forget his classy straight drive in that match-winning knock of 66. He had a huge impact on me by his performances in T20 WC and after CB series I got the feeling that I love watching him play and from there I started following him.

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.

Making your debut for the country in T20Is and that too in a WC is a dream come true for any cricketer. He played crucial knocks of 50*(40) and 30*(16) against SA and in the final vs Pak and became the part of winning world cup team at the age of 20. Then partnered with his inspiration Sachin Tendulkar in the first final of CB series and took India through the finish line. From these memorable and important knocks to not getting selected in the squad of 2011 World Cup would be a disappointing and huge setback for anyone. But the best thing about him is that he took it positively and moved on from it.

And his batting woes didn’t end there, it was that horrible 2012 series in Sri Lanka too where he just couldn’t score more than single digits.

He had already become one of best talents in the world, and everyone was looking forward to seeing him, but his downfall started, from not getting selected in WC’11 squad and this horrible series against SL in 2012. Everyone had become his critic, when we talk about criticism, no one has seen it better than Rohit Sharma. People started suggesting him, how should he bat or even they started questioning that a waste of talent who isn’t consistent, why is he still in the team? It was a horrible experience as a fan for me, then imagine what he must have gone through but he didn’t give up and now he has scored two 200s against SL itself and highest score in ODIs (264).

As he says “Throw me to the wolves and I’ll come back leading the pack”

And then came the masterstroke of MS Dhoni where he promoted the Mumbai lad to the opening spot, and rest is history as they say.

The turning point of his career. I remember when he got selected in the squad for CT 2013, some of my friends said that he won’t get the chance to play and even if he gets he’ll play at 5-6, so won’t get much overs and made fun of it. But then the surprise came and I saw him opening vs SA in the first match and I can’t describe that feeling to see him as an opener at this big stage. A waste of talent became one of the greatest openers of all time in white-ball cricket. Inspiration for everyone that if you don’t give up and believe in yourself, success will come to you.

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.

I’m one of luckiest fans who have seen his all three double hundreds live from home. I was watching INDvsAUS at my home when he scored 209 and just after that, I went out of my house to meet all the friends who used to criticize and make fun of him and still remember that I said “did you guys see him? that’s why he’s my favourite and he has arrived”
Then his second double hundred vs SL, he was coming after an injury, I was quite nervous that how is he going to play, he started very slow and then went on to score 264. It was an unbelievable and unforgettable experience for me. I was speechless that how did he do it but happy at the same time that I chose him as my idol. 208 vs SL, will always be special for me, as he made it as a captain. India had lost the first match and I saw all the criticism and badly wanted him to do well in next ODI, and he did it. Seeing him leading from the front was the happiest moment for me.

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

It definitely is. I remember, I used to pray to GOD that he should make at least two hundreds in this World Cup and he scored five. This was an unbelievable World Cup for him and he won the hearts of many cricket fans all over the world. From getting dropped from WC11 squad to becoming highest run-scorer in WC19, is truly an inspirational and an unbelievable journey.

There is only 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.

He’s someone who wants to prove himself in Test cricket. He has the ability to establish himself there. But unfortunately, he has not done it yet, most of the times he didn’t get a full series to prove himself, and when he got one or two matches, he couldn’t make it. But fortunately, he’s opening in tests now and has already made two hundreds as an opener and I really hope his journey as a test opener will be as great as it was as an ODI opener.

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

First of all, congratulations to him on winning the highest sporting honour of the country. Thank you for making us all proud. You’re finally getting what you deserve. Keep making our country proud and keep inspiring people with your hard work. And hope you win the World Cup for our country in 2023. It’s a great feeling to be a fan of a legend like you.

Thank You, Vinod, for this comment on my previous post.

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