From a young boy in the bustling streets of Mumbai to one of the most luminous stars in the cricketing firmament, Rohit Sharma’s journey wasn’t always draped in gold. If you’ve ever felt overshadowed or wondered when your turn in the spotlight would come, Rohit’s story offers not just solace but a testament to the fact that patience, persistence, and passion can pave the way to greatness. Dive into an account that serves as a beacon for every budding cricketer dreaming of making it big.
Early Days and Initial Struggles
Born in Nagpur, Maharashtra on 30th April 1987, Rohit Sharma’s early life was a testament to his resilience. He was welcomed into the world by his parents, Gurunath and Purnima Sharma. With his mother hailing from Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, Rohit is also fluent in Telugu. He shares his childhood memories with a younger brother, Vishal.
Growing up, it was Rohit’s grandparents and uncles who took care of him, as his father’s don’t earn that much as a warehouse caretaker. As a result, he lived apart from his parents, seeing them mainly on weekends.
In 1999, a 12-year-old Rohit took a significant step towards his dream by joining a cricket camp. There, he was mentored by Dinesh Lad. Recognizing Rohit’s potential, Lad advised him to transfer to Swami Vivekanand International School, which not only had Lad as its cricket coach but also boasted superior cricketing facilities.
In March 2005, Rohit Sharma made a noteworthy debut in List A cricket, representing West Zone against Central Zone during the Deodhar Trophy in Gwalior. However, it was his stellar performance of an unbeaten 142 off 123 balls against North Zone in Udaipur that thrust him into the spotlight. After showcasing his skills for India A in Abu Dhabi and Australia, he found himself in the preliminary 30-player list for the Champions Trophy, although he didn’t make the final cut. Impressively, all of this was achieved before his Ranji Trophy debut. He also secured a spot in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.
Sharma’s First-class debut came in July 2006, representing India A against New Zealand A in Darwin. Later that year, he played his inaugural Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai. After a modest start, he stunned with a score of 205 against Gujarat. Mumbai clinched the tournament victory, with Sharma contributing a vital half-century in the final against Bengal. Recognizing his leadership ability, especially after captaining Mumbai Indians to triumphs in the IPL and Champions League T20, Sharma was named the captain of the Mumbai Ranji team for the 2013-14 season upon Ajit Agarkar’s retirement.
Internationally, Rohit Sharma first donned the Indian jersey during the Future Cup 2007, making his ODI debut against Ireland. His defining moment came on 20th September 2007, when his unbeaten 50 against South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup propelled India into the semifinals. A crucial partnership with captain MS Dhoni was pivotal in this match, earning him the “Man of the Match” title. Sharma continued to impress, contributing 30 runs in the final against Pakistan. His first ODI half-century was against Pakistan in November 2007, and he was a significant presence during India’s campaign in the CB series in Australia, scoring consistently.
The Turning Point: 264 and World Records
Sachin Tendulkar pushed the barrier in ODI cricket by becoming the first man to hit a double hundred in the 50-over format of the game in 2010, going past Saeed Anwar and Charles Coventry’s record of 194. Once the path was shown, quite a few, including Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma himself and have gotten to the landmark.
However, Rohit Sharma’s knock against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 13, 2014 still remains special. The India opener redefined the idea of daddy hundreds by posting the mother of all hundreds — 264, which still remains the highest ODI score by a batsman in the sport.
In the year before his memorable innings against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma had already showcased his capability by scoring 209 against Australia. However, that score was just shy of Virender Sehwag’s then-record of 219 against the West Indies in 2011.
Then came a game-changing day in Kolkata. Sharma, opening for India, had a shaky start, as Thisara Perera dropped him when he was just on 4. That mistake would cost Sri Lanka dearly – 260 runs to be precise.
Even though he began on unsure footing, Sharma soon found his rhythm. By the time he reached his century off 100 balls in the 32nd over, it was evident he was set for a big score. His subsequent acceleration was breathtaking. He added the next fifty in a mere 25 balls, dominating bowlers like Angelo Mathews and Seekuge Prasanna. His second double century arrived in just 151 balls.
By the time Sharma surpassed the 200-run mark in the 46th over, the crowd knew they were witnessing something special. The finale of his innings was nothing short of explosive: 9 boundaries and 3 sixes in just 22 balls. He was once again given a reprieve after reaching 200 but went on to set a world record, scoring an astonishing 264 off 173 balls.
This innings wasn’t just Sharma’s second double hundred in ODI cricket; it also made him the only cricketer ever to achieve such a feat.
A breakdown of his innings against Sri Lanka is as follows:
- 50 off 72 balls
- 100 off 100 balls
- 150 off 125 balls
- 200 off 151 balls
- 250 off 166 balls
- 264 off 173 balls
His assault wasn’t about sheer power but was characterized by impeccable timing, making the Sri Lankan bowling attack appear defenseless. In that match, Sharma hit an astounding 33 boundaries and 9 sixes, leading India to a mammoth total of 404/5. The next highest scorer for India was Virat Kohli, with a commendable 66 off 64 balls.
Remarkably, Sharma wasn’t done with milestones. He registered another double century three years later, scoring an unbeaten 208 against Sri Lanka in Mohali in 2017. He remains unmatched, being the only cricketer with two, let alone three, double centuries in ODIs.
Captaincy and Leadership Ability
Rohit took on the captaincy mantle for the first time on April 24, 2013. Under his astute leadership, Mumbai Indians clinched the title in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020. As they prepared to face off against the Rajasthan Royals, the team and staff took a moment to reflect on Rohit’s impactful ten-year journey at the forefront.
As Rohit Sharma marks his 10th year captaining the five-time IPL champions, Mumbai Indians, players and coaching staff took a moment on Sunday to celebrate and reflect on his impactful leadership journey.
Rohit took the reins of the team for the first time on April 24, 2013, and has since steered Mumbai Indians to victories in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020. Ahead of MI’s showdown with Rajasthan Royals, the team and staff shared their thoughts on Rohit’s decade-long leadership.
“He’s grown as a leader. I mean he’s grown into leadership,” remarked Kieron Pollard, the team’s batting coach and a pivotal figure in the franchise’s success. “It was entrusted onto him in 2013 in the middle of a season. He was still pretty young then.”
Having witnessed Rohit’s ascension to captaincy in 2013, Pollard praised his quick adaptability, noting, “That shows his profound understanding of leadership. We’re fortunate to have him at the helm with his immense experience.”
Shane Bond, the bowling coach, labeled Rohit’s journey as “incredible”, adding, “His presence, both on and off the field, has been significant. He’s masterfully led the team to its current stature.”
Echoing the sentiment, Suryakumar Yadav, a vital cog in MI’s batting lineup, mentioned, “Leading a franchise like Mumbai Indians for a decade is a commendable feat. His captaincy has brought the team five glorious trophies.”
Australian all-rounder Cameron Green attributed much of Mumbai’s success to Rohit, while MI’s fielding coach, James Pamment, highlighted Rohit’s unique leadership style. “His ability to nurture young Indian talent stands out,” Pamment observed. “From his early days as a young captain to his evolution now, he’s always known how to make the right moves in this high-stakes competition. He carries himself with a calm yet assertive demeanor.”
The Evolution of ‘Hitman’: Master of Double Centuries
Achieving a double-century in an ODI match is no small accomplishment, especially when teams have only 300 balls to either set or chase a total. Though many cricketers spend their careers without ever reaching this landmark, Rohit Sharma, the Indian batting luminary, has astonishingly accomplished this feat three times. Of the mere eight cricketers with an ODI double-century to their credit, Rohit stands out as the only one to have done it multiple times.
In his impressive ODI journey of over 227 matches, Rohit has tallied 29 centuries, aptly justifying his No. 3 spot in the current ICC ODI rankings. Yet, it’s his remarkable ability to persist at the crease and notch up three double-centuries that sets him apart.
Rohit’s Exploits against Australia (2013): In a series remembered for its avalanche of runs, Rohit seized the day at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. After a measured start, reaching 50 in 71 balls, he unleashed against the Australian bowlers, striking 16 sixes, only to fall in the concluding over. Though Australia valiantly tried, they folded at 326, short of India’s towering 384.
Masterclass against Sri Lanka (2014): After his stellar innings against Australia, it was Rohit’s 264-run marathon at Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka that cemented his legendary status. With this innings, he became the sole batsman to cross the 250-run mark in ODIs, setting an unbroken individual ODI record. Setting a stiff target of 405, India restricted Sri Lanka to 251.
Another Sri Lankan Showdown (2017): Just when fans thought they had seen the zenith of Rohit’s capabilities, he delivered another masterstroke, this time in Mohali. Scoring a thrilling unbeaten 208, he steered India to 393. Familiarly, Sri Lanka ended their chase at 251, mirroring their previous response.
Other ODI Double-Century Achievements:
Sachin Tendulkar pioneered the double-century in men’s ODI, amassing an unbeaten 200 against South Africa in 2010. This innings, adorned with 25 boundaries and three sixes, took India to 402, securing a 153-run victory.
Although Tendulkar was the first man to achieve this, the laurel of the first-ever ODI double-century goes to Australia’s Belinda Clark in 1997. New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr has also crossed this milestone against Ireland.
Chris Gayle set the 2015 World Cup ablaze, registering the quickest ODI double-century against Zimbabwe, while Martin Guptill replicated the feat against West Indies in the same tournament. Virender Sehwag and Fakhar Zaman have also joined this elite list.
While double centuries in ODIs are rare, they’re more common in Test cricket. Rohit, not one to be left behind, showcased his prowess against South Africa in 2019. Playing in Ranchi, he anchored the Indian innings with 212 runs, propelling India to 497. South Africa capitulated at 295, reinforcing Rohit’s status as an integral opener in Test cricket for India.
From humble beginnings in Nagpur to the grand stages of international cricket, Rohit Sharma’s journey has been a remarkable tale of determination, resilience, and extraordinary talent. As he etched his name into the annals of cricketing history with unprecedented achievements, especially with his triple double centuries in ODIs, Rohit not only cemented his status as one of the game’s most potent batsmen but also showcased his exemplary leadership skills. Leading a high-stakes team like Mumbai Indians to numerous victories and triumphs, Rohit’s captaincy style, marked by calmness and strategic acumen, stands testament to his maturity and understanding of the game. His records, captaincy accolades, and impactful innings speak volumes about his contribution to the sport. Rohit Sharma’s journey, filled with unparalleled feats and inspirational moments, continues to enthral cricket enthusiasts worldwide, affirming his legacy as one of the all-time greats.