New Delhi: The comparisons with the legendary pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are certainly flattering but Rohit Sharma feels his partnership with Shikhar Dhawan still has a long way to go before matching up to the iconic opening combination.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan
"Comparisons with India's most successful opening pairing (Ganguly-Tendulkar) gives you immense satisfaction. Comparisons are a piece of joy. It would be great if me and Shikhar as opening pair can achieve the success that these two accomplished in their illustrious careers," Rohit, who is going through a dream phase in his career, told PTI in an exclusive interview.
"We are still not there but both of us would like to entertain the fans and win as many matches as they have won for India," he said. Both the batsmen did well in the recent limited-overs series in Australia with Rohit notching up the Man of the Series award in the ODIs despite India losing 1-4.
It will be an understatement to say he is in dream form but Rohit's appetite for big scores has not satiated yet. "This is not the best. Whatever I achieve, I would always tell myself that my best is yet to come. I have scored 441 runs in the ODI series in Australia. In the next big series,
my target will be to score more than 441 runs.
"If I am satisfied with my past achievements, I will never be able to set higher benchmarks," the 28-year-old stylish Mumbai batsman said. Ask him about whether the T20 series win holds credit considering the quality of Australia's bowling, Rohit replied: "I agree that their bowling attack is not same as it used to be but does one expect that Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath would have played on forever? You can only score runs off the bowlers that you play against. Every win counts as that's what you are supposed to do while playing for the country."
But he was quick to point out that this win cannot be compared to the CB Series win of 2007-08. "No way, that was so different. I was a 20-year-old on my second or third tour. The new captain (Dhoni) was just settling down. Imagine their bowling attack. Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken and a far younger Mitchell Johnson. The batting line-up was Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting and Clarke. So that tournament win can't be compared to this win but this is also special in its own way."
He speaks about getting the basics right while executing a particular shot but when asked whether it is that simple, he laughs.
"May be not but it is a fact that you need to get the basics right. The straight six over fast bowlers' head is a shot which I play with my batswing being the extension of my arm. It is about timing and position of the body negligible power element in it. But when MS Dhoni bats in the 45th over with the ball going soft, you need those wrists and brute power as to clear ropes. That's why MS is special."
While the pundits talk a lot about technique, Rohit feels that he only focuses on it when he is not in the middle of a series.
"I consider it a part of my preparation. When a series is on and there is a gap of three days between the matches, I would never tinker with the technique. I will not try anything new. Only when the series finishes and I am back home doing nothing, I would start watching those videos and analyse. Once I know what corrective measure is required, I would hit the nets."
Having emerged as one of the mainstays of this line-up, Rohit admits that he is in a good mental space.
"I would say that I am in a good space now. I have had eight years of international experience. I know what exactly my role is in the team. The core batting unit now, the four or five of us (Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Shikhar) have played a lot of cricket with and against each other at the domestic level.
"We knew once the legends (Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Dravid) retire, it would be our turn to carry the legacy forward. We are all in the middle phase of our careers. We enjoy each others' company and success. We would aim to achieve as much success for the national team as possible. It will be our endeavour to take the Indian cricket to the next level," concluded Rohit.