Mumbai Indians batsman Rohit Sharma in action during the IPL T20 match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. HT Photo by Sattish Bate
Rohit Sharma might have played a rash shot at a crucial juncture in Sunday's game, which gave the Chennai Super Kings an opportunity to get back into the contest, but this Mumbai lad, who is turning into a seasoned cricketer with each passing day, doesn’t have any regrets.
He believes the shortest format gives him the liberty to play risky shots. “I am not really affected that I have got out playing (risky) shots (in the IPL). T20 cricket gives me the liberty to play shots, which, otherwise, I wouldn't have played in other formats,” he says.
Seen as the future of Indian cricket, this season is crucial for Sharma. It is the year when he is expected to take the next step in international cricket and play an important role in Tests.
He has had his share of ups and downs. However, this time around, he's determined to put the past behind and capitalise on every chance he gets.
His admission before the media on the eve of the match suggests his increasing maturity.
“As a middle-order batsman, I have to take more responsibility and play. But I am not frustrated for the way things have gone for me at the moment,” says Sharma.
On Sunday, Sharma slammed his third half-century of the season and, to make it all the more satisfying, his team, the Mumbai Indians, have won all the three encounters. He has scored 293 runs in 11 innings so far at a strike rate of 122.59.
An inconsistent middle order has been a cause for concern for the star-studded Mumbai franchise since the start of the season, but Sharma has provided the much-needed balance to the side with his batting, which can be termed as a perfect blend of aggressiveness and crafty nudges.
Sunday’s game was important for Sharma as he was playing at the Wankhede after the ‘shattering experience’ of facing the world's premier fast bowler, Dale Steyn. Steyn had severely tested Sharma with a spell of incisive swing last Sunday.
But Sharma hit a 46-ball 60 against CSK that would have done a world of good to his confidence. It was not just about the runs but equally impressive was the quality of his stroke-play. The icing on the cake was that his century partnership with Sachin Tendulkar gave the Mumbai Indians their seventh win of the IPL V.