Rohit Sharma opens up about his job as vice captain of team India

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My job is to complement Virat Kohli on the field, says Rohit Sharma

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SportsCafe Desk

09/14/2017

Rohit Sharma who became the new vice-captain of Team India has stated that his job is to help and complement Virat Kohli on the field. Sharma, who has seen a number of ups and downs in his injury prone career, has admitted that comebacks, after injuries, are not easy for any professional athlete.

Rohit Sharma who was recently handed the responsibility of being the new vice-captain of the ODI team has called it an honour to be given the extra responsibility. 

"It's an honour. My job is to help Virat in the field. He is the captain and whenever he looks up around, I should be around to complement him and help him as much as I could," Sharma said as reported by PTI.

Sharma, who, growing up, was typically a middle order batsman, was asked to open the innings for the Indian side in early 2013 against England during the home series. Sharma grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has gone on to cement his place as one of the first names on the team sheet in limited overs cricket. 2016 saw him become one of the best players in the Indian setup, with an average of 62.66 including back to back centuries in Australia, but an injury saw the 30-year-old's home season coming to a premature end. Sharma admitted that his comeback after a six month injury layoff was not easy for him.

"Comebacks are not at all easy. After a major surgery, the difficult part is to conquer the inner demons. It's all in the mind. Only an individual can overcome his fears. My batting may look easy to the eye but trust me, it's not that easy," he said.

With the Champions Trophy starting in June 2017, Sharma caught a lucky break recovering from the injury just in time to take part in the IPL. Not only did the Mumbai Indians' skipper regain full fitness, he even led Mumbai to their record third IPL crown against Pune in the final.

"The best part that happened to me was IPL started just after I completed my rehab. So while captaining Mumbai Indians and taking those on-field decisions, I couldn't think about what happens if I get injured," Sharma added. 

"And when I was playing for India, my mind became blanks while batting. There was no place for any negativity."

In the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka, the Indian opener played five ODIs and one T20I in which he scored 311 runs as India won all their games. After being runout for a mere four runs in the first match, Sharma came back strong in the second as Lankan spinner Akila Dananjaya was running riot. The Sri Lankan claimed six sclaps in the Kandy ODI, including Sharma's wicket but not before the Indian had scored a 45-ball 54. Even though Dananjaya would go on to trouble the Indians throughout the series, Sharma seems impervious to the spinner, scoring two consecutive hundreds to secure the series.

"The half-century was special but I didn't face Dananjaya much during that match. I was out only one over after he was brought into the attack. But in the next two games, I got hundreds and I had no problems playing him," Sharma said.

"I realised that the speed of his googly was on the slower side while leg-breaks were faster. His off-break was easily negotiable. One thing we must know about these 'Mystery Spinners' -- they are bound to bowl loose deliveries and Dananjaya is no different."

India now face a difficult task as they welcome Australia with both teams in contention of replacing South Africa at the top of the ODI rankings. While Sri Lanka did not offer too much resistance, Australia are a whole different monster with quality players in every position.  

"To each his own but my process of preparation is based on conditions, not opposition. It won't be any different when we face Australia," the Indian vice-captain said.

"In international cricket, the core group in most of the teams would remain same. So you know what's expected but they will operate in different conditions which is why the homework about conditions is the key. You need to know the shots you can play on particular pitches, how you want to plan your innings."

The right-handed batsman has played 163 ODIs for India and scored 5737 runs which including 13 centuries and 32 half-centuries. Sharma opined that absence of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood can affect the chances of the visitors but the experience of IPL can work in their favour.

"Of course, Starc is a quality bowler and his presence makes a difference but most of the Aussie boys have played IPL and are familiar with Indian conditions.

"They are a quality side and we can't take them lightly," Sharma explained.

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