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How Rohit Sharma hits sixes at will, the double-ton master reveals secret

As the double-century innings against Sri Lanka cricket team in Mohali progressed, Rohit Sharma hit four more boundaries, but the Indian cricket team stand-in skipper’s sixes count reached 11, effortlessly clearing the field each time.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 14, 2017 19:03 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Mohali
India vs Sri Lanka,IND vs SL,Rohit Sharma
Indian cricket team stand-in captain Rohit Sharma acknowledges the applause from the crowd after scoring a double century in the second ODI against Sri Lanka cricket team in Mohali on Wednesday.(AP)

Soon after scoring a record breaking third double ton in ODIs, Rohit Sharma revealed the secret to scoring big and his art of hitting sixes at will. Having scored 208 off 153 balls with 13 fours and 12 sixes, India’s stand-in skipper said that unlike AB de Villers, Chris Gayle and MS Dhoni, who sometimes use their sheer power to clear the ropes, he has to rely on timing and play the field. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA 2nd ODI HIGHLIGHTS)

Sample this: for his 100 off 115 balls, Rohit had hit nine fours and just one six of Nuwan Pradeep in the 27th over on Wednesday. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA 2nd ODI SCORECARD)

But as the innings progressed, Rohit hit four more boundaries, but his sixes count reached 11, effortlessly clearing the field each time. It may have looked easy from the stands, but Rohit insists says there was more to hitting sixes than meets the eye.

“Nothing is easy. May be when you watch it on TV it looks easy, but it is not. Trust me, when you are out in the middle, you have to use your brain and you have to time the ball. I was trying to play according to the field, playing the scoop shot, trying to hit over point. Those are my strengths,” he said.

Another thing that has helped Rohit is the rule of having five fielders inside the circle, which opens up enough gaps for a batsman like him who has a full repertoire of shots. India plundered 147 runs off last 10 overs. The acceleration was so fast that India were 245/1 at the start of 41st over and by the end they almost touched 400-run mark.

Suranga Lakmal, the toast of Sri Lanka’s win in Dharamshala, went for four sixes in the 44th over as Rohit raced from 116 off 126 balls to 140 off 131 balls.

“It is not always that you can clear the rope easily. So, that is the advantage of having five fielders inside. You can play according to the field and shot selection becomes key. I don’t think T20 cricket has made me what I am today. I have started playing three-day cricket at school. And then, the Ranji Trophy (four-day) cricket. Then the ODIs. T20s came much later,” Rohit said, whose most productive shot was the pull which fetched him 71 runs (2x4, 9x6).

“Their bowlers were trying to bowl yorkers outside off stump with just three fielders on the leg side. So first I tried to penetrate the on-side, but I could not. So I tried hitting straight because the fielder at long-on was up inside the circle,” he said.

Rohit said after spending time on the field it becomes relatively easier to place the ball, find the gaps.

“I started off slow. I knew if I stayed long enough, batting will only get easier. You have been there, took out the toughest part of the game. You have batted, your team is in a good position and you also have wickets in hand. So all those put together, gives you freedom to play those shots,” he said.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 18:54 IST