'Rohit Sharma didn't see that coming. It tore him to shreds': Karthik reveals incident which 'really hurt' India captain
From not being an assured starter to now being India's captain in all three formats, Rohit Sharma's journey is no less than a fairytale. But like every fairytale, this one too had his share of setbacks as well.
India captain Rohit Sharma's international career can be divided into two halves. The opening half comprises the first six years, where he struggled to cement a place in the Indian side, lacked consistency and could not make it to India's 2011 World Cup squad. And then the next decade, where Rohit transformed himself into one of the most destructive and successful batters in world cricket. His career took a turn when he began opening for India in the 2013 Champions Trophy and went on to become the only batter to score three ODI double-centuries. There has been no looking back ever since and the India captain has only gone from strength to strength.
However, despite tasting success in ODIs and T20Is, for the longest time, Rohit's Test career remained somewhat of a puzzle as he failed to break into the Playing XI on a regular basis. But all that changed in 2019, when Rohit was promoted as an opener in the home Test series against South Africa. Ever since, several openers have come and gone, but Rohit is the only constant at the top for India. From not being an assured starter to now leading Team India's captain in all three formats, Rohit's journey is no less than a fairytale.
But like every fairytale, this one too had his share of setbacks as well. Between October 2016 and November 2017, Rohit did not get to play a single Test. And when he did look set to crack the code of Test cricket, disaster struck. In 2018, Rohit scored 78 runs in four innings against South Africa and despite performing well in the ODIs and T20Is in England, he was not included in the Test squad with the selectors preferring Karun Nair over him. That incident as India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik explains, acted as a gut-buster for Rohit.
"He had almost gone down the path where he was so successful as a white-ball cricketer. He was happy doing that. And when he did come back into the Test team, you've got to remember in 2018, he was dropped from the Test team. He was sent back after the white-ball leg and that really hurt him. Rohit Sharma did not see that coming and that really tore him to shreds," Karthik said in the docu-series Summer Stalemate on Cricbuzz.
What unfolded in 2018 was hard to believe because Rohit had a phenomenal start to his Test career, scoring centuries – 177 and 111 not out in his first two innings – the famous Sachin Tendulkar farewell series. And even though he went on scoring half-centuries, his next Test ton came in November of 2017.
But as fate would have it, Rohit, coming off the high of the 2019 World Cup where he scored five centuries – was backed by former India coach Ravi Shastri to open… and the rest as they say in history. Rohit scored twin centuries in his maiden Test as opener and followed it with a double century two Tests later. In September 2021, Rohit scored his maiden overseas Test century, which came 8 years after his debut.