'Rohit Sharma saw a visual with an arrow pointing at his tummy and said…': How 'Maggi-man' became Team India's 'Hitman' | Crickit

'Rohit Sharma saw a visual with an arrow pointing at his tummy and said…': How 'Maggi-man' became Team India's 'Hitman'

Jun 17, 2024 02:56 PM IST

Abhishek Nayar, Rohit Sharma's close friend, recalled how Rohit transitioned himself to become one of Indian cricket's greatest batters of all time.

Rohit Sharma's international career could be divided into two halves – before and after Champions Trophy 2013. From 2007 to early 2013, Rohit went from being this up-and-coming young talent who was believed to be there forever to getting sidelined and dropped from India's 2011 World Cup. The other half, of course, is from CT 2013-Present, during which Rohit's career took off after being promoted as opener to become one of Indian and world's cricket's best. The only man to notch up three ODI double centuries, leading Mumbai Indians to a record five IPL titles, Rohit is now captain of the Indian team and a modern-day batting great.

Rohit Sharma worked his way up the ladder(AFP)
Rohit Sharma worked his way up the ladder(AFP)

All this success, however, hasn't come without Rohit's fair share of struggles and the eye-openers he's regularly dealt with. Many former and current cricketers, including Rohit himself, have spoken about how getting dropped from the World Cup squad was a wake-up call for Rohit in many regards, with one of his closest confidantes, Abhishek Nayar, the current assistant coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, sharing a never-before-heard incident around it which motivated and spurred Rohit to make a transition in his career.

"When Rohit was not picked for the 2011 World Cup, I always told him 'let's work hard'. Because he had gained a bit of weight at that time. A visual, an ad was aired, which showed Rohit and Yuvraj [Singh] standing, and there was a circle marked around Rohit's tummy with an arrow pointing towards it. I will never forget it. We were at home, watching TV. And looking at that visual, Rohit said I have to change this (perception)," Nayar told YouTuber and podcaster Ranveer Allahabadia on his show TRS Clips.

The 2011 World Cup lit a fuse in Rohit Sharma

Not to forget, Rohit had already become a World Cup winner by then and had played a vital knock in the first final of the CB series, which, along with Sachin Tendulkar's century, helped India beat Australia on their soil to clinch the trophy. In 2011, when Rohit's name was not part of the 15-member squad announced for the WC, Rohit's painful tweet is still recalled by his most ardent fans. Disappointment aside, it lit a fuse in Rohit's mind.

"A few days later, the World Cup team was announced, but he wasn't part of the squad. At that point, Rohit Sharma became the Hitman. Because everything changed – his approach and how he wanted to go about his career. He was the first guy, and that was my first journey with someone who transitioned into a successful cricketer and changed a lot of opinions," added Nayar.

"People used to say a lot of things about him. Two-minute Maggi-man and stuff like that. There were a lot of things said about Rohit Sharma. That changed everything. He said to me 'I'll do whatever you say, but when the IPL gets over, people should say ‘he is not the same Rohit Sharma. He is someone else'".

IPL 2012 and 2013 – where he scored 433 and 528 runs respectively – where turning points in Rohit's career and the rest, as they say, is history.

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