He is the first batsman to notch up two double hundreds in ODI cricket but Rohit Sharma says he has a lot more to achieve in the game as expectations and responsibilities are only going to increase as he progresses in his career.
Rohit scored a world record 264 in India’s 153-run win against Sri Lanka. That not only made him the top run-getter in an innings in ODIs but also the first to fetch two double hundreds in the 50-over format, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
“I still have a lot more to do. When I was young and wanted to play International cricket, I never thought this would happen,” Rohit told reporters when asked about his breathtaking innings.
“All the records happen along the way. I probably need to work harder and from here on the expectation would be more. I feel I have a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders,” said the Indian.
Rohit, who played his first international game last night after an injury lay-off, had struggled against pace bowling in South Africa. He said failures of the past cannot stop his progress.
“You have to accept the failure and success and keep moving on. That’s what I’ve done. A couple of overseas failures will not stop my cricket. My cricket and my hard work will still remain on the track. I will keep working hard as ever.”
Rohit started his record-breaking innings slowly as he conceded a maiden to Angelo Mathews before stepping on the gas. The Indian opener gave credit to his partner Ajinkya Rahane for his quickfire 24-ball 28 that took pressure off him.
Admitting that he struggled in the beginning, Rohit said: “Playing after two months from an injury layoff, I was feeling little out of place, I should accept that. The strikebreaking was not happening as naturally as it used to be. I wanted to get stuck in the middle that required a lot of dedication and determination. I had to build the innings. Initial 10-15 overs was not easy.
“I kept telling myself, no matter what, I need to stay there. Luckily the quickfire innings by Rahane really helped me settle down. I needed to stay there because I knew I could make up any time. I just wanted to make it count. I wanted to make this game special one for me and the team. Getting two double hundreds was really special.”
Rohit also gave credit to BCCI physio Vaibhav Daga for working overtime with him.
“I am sure he will be a really happy man. It was a very difficult two months. I would like to thank the BCCI physio Mr Vaibhav Daga. For both of us it was a big challenge, he really worked hard with me.”
Asked whether he had Sehwag’s record 219 in mind when he completed the double ton, Rohit said: “The last time I scored 209 someone said you missed it by 10 runs. I was not looking at that while batting. I was a little surprised and shocked seeing the teammates giving me the ovation then I realised I must have surpassed it.”
He said he was happy to bat till the last ball.
“Most importantly I am happy to bat 50 overs. To bat till the last over is really pleasing for me.”
The reigning world champions will leave for Australia for a Test series in December followed by a tri-series, also featuring England, that will kickstart their World Cup build-up. Rohit felt it would be a challenging series.
“It’s too early to talk about it right now. Once we finish the series, we will go back and see. Australians are playing some really good cricket. So we will be up for a big challenge in Australia. The guys are in good nick and performing really well. I hope it would be an interesting one.
“It will be a big advantage to get used to the conditions, the wickets. Playing a Test series, followed by a Tri-series will really help us. We all are up for the challenge.”
He refused to comment on whether he would like to open the innings.
“I am not the captain or coach or the team management so I can’t decide this. I will bat wherever they decide. I don’t know what will be in the World Cup. The team combination is more important than the personal interest. Whatever the team combination we want going into the World Cup, I’ve to keep that mind.”
Calling Eden Gardens a special venue, Rohit joked he would not mind buying a flat in Kolkata.
“If you will help me getting a flat I would definitely (buy one here). People love their cricket here. This place is really special to me. I have really fond memories here. I love playing here,” he said of the ground where he made his Ranji debut and went on to score a hundred in his maiden Test.
Sharma also has a Ranji double here besides scoring a hundred in T20 for the Mumbai Indians.