Tendulkar’s advice will help me a lot: Rohit
Mumbai, Nov 5: Watching Rohit Sharma jog along the boundary rope at Wankhede or on the field during the Ranji Trophy match against Railways you see a fitter cricketer working hard to make an impact. Not only is the Mumbai batsman following a strict regime to regain and hence maintain his fitness, he has been working diligently on his technique under the tutorship of Sachin Tendulkar to improve his batting as well.
The legendary batsman has been working with Sharma for over a couple of years and is following his progress. Eager to make amends, Sharma has been working to implement Tendulkar’s advice. They have been working on improving the basics like his grip, balance and position of the head, among other things that will help better Sharma’s game.
While speaking to bcci.tv during Mumbai’s first Ranji Trophy game of the 2012-13 season, Sharma talked about the guidance that he has received from the senior cricketer and the work he’s putting in to improve his performance.
Excerpts from his interview:
You had said the other day that Sachin Tendulkar has been helping you. Please elaborate on the tips that you have received and how that has changed your batting?
It has changed immensely. In the last two to two-and-a-half years we have been working together, and talking since I got into the Mumbai Indians team. When we were together in the Indian team we didn’t get so much time there because he was busy preparing himself and I was doing my own things, but when I got into the Mumbai Indians team we got to spend a lot of time together. He definitely keeps a watch on how I am progressing and my technique and all that stuff. He has been there for very long, so he knows what exactly you need to be to become a successful cricketer. He keeps giving me inputs. I cannot be like him, I cannot follow his technique because I am a different individual than him, but whatever he is trying to tell me I am trying to do that. I am trying to implement his inputs in my game. If I am able to do half of the things that he has told me, it will help me a lot.
Any specifics that Tendulkar has told that you would like to share
He has told me certain things, which will be more useful for Test cricket, like holding the bat, my head position, the balance when you play a shot and such things. All these things matter when you are playing Test cricket. This is what he has been telling me. It has been a while now and I am working on it every time I go on the field and every time I bat in the nets. It is not going to happen overnight. It is a long process. Yes, I am working towards it, so hopefully even if I manage to get 60-70 percent of what he has told me, it will be really helpful.
Have you been doing anything differently to ensure that you stay at the crease for a longer period of time?
My game is very aggressive and I am a natural stroke-maker, so I will keep playing my shot if the ball is in my area; and sometimes you will get out. But I have to keep in mind that you have to also respect the bowlers who are bowling at you, because they are also there to get you out, so you have to respect that. But I admit that I have played some stupid shots in the past but that’s how you learn so I am learning from those mistakes and I will try not to do that. Nobody goes out there to get out. They are trying their best every time. I am certainly trying my best every time, but sometimes things don’t go your way. Mentally, you have to be strong when you are there and that is one thing that will keep you going.
So one of the things that you are working on is trying to finish the innings
Yes I will; that is my role and my job and I enjoy doing that.
While batting with the lower order what is it that you have to try and do differently?
It is difficult because you have to keep in mind that you are batting with tailenders, so you have to rotate the strike. And you have to analyse the situation that you are batting in. All the small things make a huge difference, so you have to keep them in mind and go forward.
The support that your seniors and teammates have been extending towards you must be motivating and reassuring
Surely it helps. I have seen in the past that I have got decent backing from the team, the guys who I play with, which is good to see. And at the end of the day I have to do what I want to do. It’s up to me to perform. I have to make myself happy and my teammates and make India proud. When you are playing you rather not think about other things and you just concentrate on your game. That’s how I play my cricket. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself by thinking about all those things. When I am at the ground I just want to be very calm and not think too much. Obviously, there are a lot of things that will come to your mind while playing but you have to stay away from all that.
You have now worked with Duncan Fletcher as well. What has been his input? How different or similar is he to Gary Kirsten?
Both are very similar in the way they go about their job. Gary is Duncan’s student, so exactly what Duncan Fletcher has in him Gary was all about that; so the way they approach the game is very similar. A lot of things are common between those two, like they stay very calm. They don’t panic under any situation. You don’t see any sign of panicking from them even if we are in trouble. They have one clear thought in their mind, of staying positive and sending positive messages and basically having a positive atmosphere in the dressing room, which is very important, because there are a lot of young guys in the team so they shouldn’t be pressurised by all such things.
With all the expectations on you, do you feel the pressure to perform?
Yes, there is that because every time I go out there is lot of expectation to score, but I enjoy this. I ignore certain things; rather focus on my cricket and what I need to do. I will put my energy into my game and improve my game.