From being dubbed the "next big thing" from the stables of Mumbai batsmanship to being regarded as a "talent without commitment", Rohit Sharma has earned plenty of tags during his topsy-turvy ride in international cricket.
However, a person cannot climb the ladder of success unless he avoids repeating the same mistakes. Sharma, 24, who has been recalled into India's squad for the third Test against West Indies, seems to have realised it just in time.
Since he made his first-class debut five years ago, the middle order batsman's talent has been unquestionable. What prevented him from breaking into the Test team was his tendency to lose concentration and play rash shots after getting off the blocks, and of course, a touch of bad luck.
On more than one occasion, a freak injury prevented him from earning a Test cap, an injury while warming up playing football on the morning of what could have been his Test debut in Nagpur early last year, for instance.
But Sharma has shown with his performances over the last three seasons that he has matured. "You just cannot grow as a person if you don't learn from your mistakes," he told HT on Friday. "The best way to learn is to first understand things and then to avoid them. Fortunately, I have been able to do that, and it has made me a better cricketer and a better person."
How does he apply this logic on the field? "Earlier, I used to have a rush of blood after scoring a brilliant 20 or 30, even in Ranji Trophy," Sharma said. "Now I have realised that unless I convert the starts into not just hundreds, but big hundreds, I won't be able to stand out from the rest. Although I have not changed my naturally aggressive style of batting, I have made minor adjustments to my game and have started scoring big runs consistently."
This change is reflected in his performances, as 11 of his 12 first-class centuries, including back-to-back tons in Mumbai's first two games of the ongoing season, have come in the last three years.
If Sharma can keep his head on his shoulders, he will do a lot of good to himself and Mumbai cricket, and more importantly to Indian cricket.