Hyderabad: He indeed has an enviable record in the Indian Premier League. He has also left an indelible mark in this cash-rich T20 tournament. Rohit Sharma is the only player to be in the champion side six times, once for the now defunct Deccan Chargers and five times for Mumbai Indians. Rohit was, however, in the news for wrong reasons.
Easily one of the legends of the white-ball cricket, the Mumbai skipper was reportedly not fit and was overlooked for the T20 and ODI teams to Australia. It came as a shocker but to prove the critics wrong, Rohit returned to the Mumbai Indians side after selectors announced the team before signing off the IPL with a sparkling 51-ball 68 that stamped his class in the UAE edition. All the while he had some poor scores but Sharma rose to the occasion to play a leading role in MI’s fifth title triumph.
Rohit’s return to form has led to a series of debates on his injury. As per the first official BCCI release when the team was announced, it said: “The BCCI Medical Team will continue to monitor the progress of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma.’’ BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, quoting PTI, said Rohit had a hamstring tear.
He even cautioned Rohit against hastening his comeback. But Rohit’s mysterious injury continued to baffle the critics. A few days later, in another BCCI release said, they have been monitoring Rohit’s fitness. “In consultation with Sharma, it has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is in Australia to regain full fitness and he has been included in India’s Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy,’’ said the Monday release.
But Monday’s stunning batting show has left everyone puzzled over Rohit’s fitness. Former Hyderabad opener Vijaya Mohan Raj said if he had the hamstring injury then he could never have played the way he batted in the final on Tuesday. “A physio would never advise a player to play with a hamstring injury as it will ruin his career. It is a surprise that he is not in the T20 and ODI teams for Australia. He is the world’s best batsman. They should have consulted him before the team was picked for Australia.’’
And after his exemplary leadership skills in the final, few former cricketers have even batted for Rohit to his elevation as white-ball captain. “If Rohit Sharma doesn’t become India’s captain, it’s their loss, not Rohit’s,’’ Gautam Gambhir said in ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out programme.
“Yes, a captain is only as good as his team and I completely agree with that, but what are the parameters to judge a captain on who is good and who isn’t? The parameters and benchmark should be the same. Rohit has led his team (MI) to five IPL titles.”
The former Indian opener clarified that Virat Kohli was not poor in captaincy. But he advocated split captaincy for Team India as Rohit had a better record in white-ball cricket. “They can also consider split-captaincy. No one is poor. Rohit has shown in white-ball cricket how big the difference is between his and Virat’s captaincy. One player had led his team to five titles, the other hadn’t won yet,’’ he felt.
England’s Michael Vaughan wrote on twitter: “Without question Rohit Sharma should be the Indian T20 captain .. fantastic man manager & leader .. & he knows exactly how to win T20 games .. it would also give Virat a chance to take a breather and just be the player .. it’s works for all other teams around the world ..#IPL2020.”
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