Can Rohit Sharma end India's World Cup drought in Australia this year?

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Rohit Sharma's job is to help India win the T20 world cup in Australia this year.

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Can Rohit Sharma end India's World Cup drought in Australia this year?

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Kunal Joshi

04/01/2022

Rohit Sharma took over the captaincy of all three formats after Virat Kohli decided to call it a day on his time as skipper in South Africa following the 2-1 loss in the Test series. The Mumbai batter's task is to end India's search for a World Cup title as it rests on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma.

Rohit Sharma is one of the most prolific batters in world cricket and has dominated against almost all his opponents in international cricket. He is one of the few batters who has scored runs in every format of the game and can change his game according to the game situation. However, the Rohit Sharma that we know today is way different than the one who had arrived at the scene back in 2007 for the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup. The international cricket teams that competed in the T20 World cup of 2007 did not have much clue about the shortest format of the game. Back then India's top batting stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid had opted out of the T20 World Cup.

This allowed for a young captain like MS Dhoni to lead the country for the first time alongside a fairly young side that comprised of stalwarts like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir,  Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan just to name a few. There was one young batter who was able to get selected because of his performances in the domestic circuit was a young Rohit Sharma. The young Mumbai cricketer was 20-years-and-100-days-old when he got selected for the T20 World Cup. He made his debut for India in the match against England on September 19, 2007, at Durban. The match is famously remembered for Yuvraj Singh's brilliance as he smashed six sixes in an over against Stuart Broad. 

Rohit Sharma played 5 T20 matches in 2007 and scored 88 runs with the highest score of 50 not out. Interestingly, Rohit had made his ODI debut even before his T20I debut. This happened on 23rd June 2007 against Ireland in Belfast. The young batter was slated to bat at number 7 but due to India's dominant performance in the game, he did not get a chance to bat. This is another reason why many don't remember this interesting stat. He played 4 ODIs in 2007 and scored 61 runs in the calendar year with 52 being his highest once again.

In the following year, Sharma played 28 ODIs and scored 532 runs with an average of 25.33 as he batted in the middle order and played just 1 T20 game that year. At the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, Rohit Sharma was bought by the Deccan Chargers (Hyderabad) for a whopping sum of INR 3 crore. 

In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Rohit Sharma performed decently with the bat but was unable to make it to the famous 2011 world cup squad which went on to lift the trophy. The batter himself has often talked about his regret of not being able to play in that tournament. After a good 2011 where he was bought by Mumbai Indians in the IPL for 9,20,000,00 as the young batter had the experience of winning an IPL trophy under former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist

However, Rohit Sharma's form slumped the very next year and he was unable to score any big runs and former cricketers and experts wanted him to be dropped. But, the then India captain MS Dhoni believed in the young batter and felt Rohit Sharma could make it big.

In the champions trophy 2013, Dhoni replaced Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma as openers. That was the moment that changed Rohit Sharma's career as he became one of the very best in the game when he started opening the batting for India and scored 1196 from 28 ODIs with an average of 52.00 in 2013. 

He also received his Test cap the very same during Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series against the West Indies. On his Test debut, Rohit Sharma smashed 177 which is still the second-highest score by any Indian batter on their Test debut.

Rohit went from strength to strength and went on to become the only batter to score 3 double centuries in ODIs. After MS Dhoni quit captaincy, Virat Kohli was handed over the duties and Rohit Sharma was named his deputy. But, Rohit Sharma was proving to be a good leader and his skills were on display when he was handed over the captaincy of Mumbai Indians. In his debit season as captain, Rohit Sharma led Mumbai to their first-ever title and since then there has been no turning back. As of today, Rohit Sharma has 5 tIPL trophies under his belt as skipper and is the most successful captain in IPL history. 

Virat Kohli's captaincy was being scrutinised after India lost the World Cup in 2019. Since then, fans, as well as former cricketers, started debating if someone like Rohit Sharma who has won multiple IPL titles should be handed over the reins. In 2021, just before the T20 World cup, Virat Kohli announced that he will be quitting captaincy from the shortest format of the game. This is when Rohit's name once again started coming up as the person to take over from Virat Kohli. Soon after the t20 world cup debacle, Rohit Sharma was announced as the skipper of the ODI team for the South Africa series. 

Rohit Sharma is in the form of his life and is one of the best in white-ball cricket. Young players in the squad have often talked about how Rohit is always around to help them and guides them when they need it the most. The BCCI and selectors of the Indian cricket team have a clear agenda in mind for Rohit Sharma and that is winning the T20 World Cup in Australia this year.

India has not won the trophy since the first World Cup which happened in 2007. Rohit Sharma has the task of bringing back the T20 World Cup trophy for the first time in 15 years when his team goes to Australia later this year. The question that remains is the fact that does Rohit Sharma has it in him to win the trophy. In my opinion, yes, Rohit Sharma has the skill and the calmness that is required in a high-pressure tournament like the T20 World Cup. 

Sharma has won the IPL not once not twice but 5 times as a skipper which speaks volumes about how tactically sound he is since 2013. He understands the weaknesses and strengths of his team and backs his players. The confidence that he instills in his teammates is what is required when they play the World Cup in Australia. I believe Rohit Sharma is India's best bet if they want to win the upcoming World Cup and like MS Dhoni he might have the luck and the Midas touch which is required to win a tournament like the T20 World Cup.

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