While the rest of Maharashtra relaxed on Tuesday evening, enjoying a public holiday on the occasion of the state's foundation day and labour day, Rohit Sharma and his Mumbai Indians teammates were slogging at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.
And the Mumbai batsman, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday, was determined to renew his quest to establish himself as a top-notch batsman in all formats of the game. Ever since he emerged on the domestic scene in 2006, Sharma has been hailed as ‘the next big thing’ from Mumbai’s cricket stables. However, Sharma, for a variety of reasons, has failed to take the next step forward and establish himself at the highest level, unlike the younger Virat Kohli.
Maybe due to a lack of opportunities or due to injuries at the wrong time, Sharma, instead of being hailed as the flag-bearer of India’s batting, still remains the talent that hasn’t really flourished at the top.
Early on in his career, he was criticised for his poor attitude. Then came the fitness woes. But once he missed out on India’s squad for last year’s triumphant World Cup campaign, it marked a turnaround for him. However, despite emerging as ‘Mr Fit’ after that, Sharma still remains as inconsistent as was with the bat.
No wonder then that Sharma is desperate to let his bat do the talking in IPL V. After all, it is the shortest form of the game where he has time and again proven his credentials as a match-winner.
His ability to take a match away from the opposition came to the fore during the MI’s game against the Chargers early on in the tournament. However, since then, just like his team, he has had a topsy-turvy ride.
Not once has Sharma been able to make meaningful contributions with the willow for two games in a row in the team’s nine games so far. And after playing the anchor’s role during the scratchy victory against the bottom-placed Chargers on a difficult Wankhede wicket on Sunday, he would be eager to follow it up with a big knock against the stuttering Pune Warriors.
If he can do that, it will not just be a step forward for him, it will also help the Mumbai Indians take a giant stride towards the playoffs.