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When Rohit Sharma broke into the international scene six years back, his batting style, timing and shot selection prompted many to brand him as the next best thing in India cricket, especially considering the age of the famous four of Indian batting line-up. However, inconsistency in producing big knocks didn’t do proper justice to his superior talent as Rohit started to make way for the new group of youngsters led by Virat Kohli.

After warming the bench for long, Rohit was primed to make his Test debut against South Africa in Nagpur in 2010. However, a freak injury suffered on the morning of the game forced him to make way for Bengal’s Wriddhiman Saha.  He then had to wait for six long years during which he played 108 ODIs before he finally made his Test debut.

But once he made the cut, the 26-year-old announced his arrival with a bang, scoring a brilliant century (177) under pressure which helped India beat West Indies by an innings under three days at the Eden Gardens in the first of the two-Test series, billed as known as Sachin Tendulkar’s swan song rubber.  Rohit’s astonishing form in the present year, including only the third double century in ODI history, saw him shatter many records. His amazing run, together with that of Virat Kohli, shows Indian cricket will be in safe hands after Tendulkar calls it a day after the ongoing second Test in Mumbai.

The double century in Bangalore was special which made him only the third cricketer after compatriots Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to score a double century in ODIs. Sharma struck 209 off 158 balls against Australia at Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was studded with 12 fours and 16 sixes, a new record in ODIs.

Similarly, in the recently concluded Eden Test, his knock stood out for the time when it came. Replying to Windies’ first innings total of 234, India were reeling at 83/5 when Rohit came to crease. Rest his history as he blasted the visiting bowlers to all corners of the ground en route 177. India went on to win the match under three days.

There was no doubting Rohit’s skill, but his temperament, a trait which, if missing, could neutralise talent, was an unknown entity. Rahul Dravid rightfully says talent cannot be judged by a batsman’s ability to strike a cricket ball alone. It comprises of various factors, like determination, courage, discipline and temperament, which makes it a whole. In the first 87 ODIs of his career, Rohit scored just 1978 runs, averaging less than 30. He wasn’t a regular bowler so his contribution often tended towards nothing.

For someone who was supposed to be the next big thing in world cricket, Rohit Sharma certainly did himself no favours by perennially underperforming. His occasional flashes of brilliance, coupled with the odd fifties that were few and far between, barely managed to keep him afloat. However,  since being promoted to open the innings in ODIs  in the Champions Trophy earlier this year, Rohit put to rest all speculations surrounding his capability as a batsman.

After the Eden Test, Rohit rightfully admitted this was ‘probably’ the best he has ever played. ‘Getting a 200 in ODIs is a wonderful feeling. When I went out to bat, I never thought I’d get a 200. The idea was to stay on the wicket. We know it is a small ground, runs are easy to come by once you are in. I just wanted to stay in and capitalise later.’
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