Rohit Sharma, the man who has left the cricket world spellbound with his record-breaking 264 off 173 balls (33x4s and 9x6s) in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens yesterday, could not grip his bat two months ago.
mid-day view: Unstoppable Rohit too good for struggling Lankans
Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of the warm-up match against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium on October 30. Pic/Suresh KK
Rohit had to return home midway from the England tour in August after a finger injury on his right hand ruled him out of the five-match ODI series (August 25 to September 5).
Back in Mumbai, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) swung into action to get Rohit fit at the earliest. And the board's specialised academy physio Vaibhav Daga was given that responsibility.
"Initially, the injury did not look very serious. He was undergoing physiotherapy sessions at the BKC academy, but there seemed to be no improvement even after a week.
It was then that the call was taken to undergo surgery. He was operated on at the Lilavati Hospital," Anil Joshi, administration manager for BCCI's specialised academy at BKC, informed mid-day.
After the surgery, Rohit was advised to concentrate on his fitness and rehab. "He slowly started stroking throw-downs at the indoor nets. He was naturally hesitant to play his shots. On some occasions, he was also finding it difficult to hold his bat.
After all, he was coming out of a huge injury. But he did excellently well to overcome these jitters. Slowly and steadily, Rohit started to get back his confidence," said Joshi.
Rohit then started to bat in the outdoor nets. He requested BKC curator Nadeem Memon to prepare the centre wicket to help him achieve full confidence before he faced the Sri Lankans in the October 30 warm-up match at the Brabourne Stadium — his first competitive match after the injury setback. Here he smashed 142 off 111 balls.
"Although he was batting well in the nets, he wasn't getting the confidence he wanted. He wanted a quick, hard pitch and we prepared it for him. He batted for more than three hours daily during the final stages of his recovery," said Memon.
Joshi said Rohit concentrated on lofted shots before joining the team in Kolkata. "He wanted to be totally comfortable in handling the impact on his injured finger while playing aerial shots.
He seemed completely ready and satisfied when he left for Kolkata," said Joshi, who also thanked the MCA indoor academy director Pradeep Kasliwal for helping Rohit get back to full fitness.
So determined was Rohit to get back into the Indian team that he almost shut himself from the entire world during those two months — even his family to an extent.
"He hardly socialised. BKC was like his second home. Eventually, we went to see him at his residence (in Bandra). I am happy his efforts have borne fruits," Rohit's father Gurunath told mid-day.