IPL 2020: Rohit Sharma is 'LIP' man in Mumbai Indians

Updated: 06 August, 2020 07:47 IST | PTI | New Delhi

Mumbai Indians skipper says he is the Least Important Person in the team as franchise gets set for another crack at IPL glory in the United Arab Emirates

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma gestures during an IPL match against Delhi Capitals at Feroz Shah Kotla last year. PIC/AFP
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma gestures during an IPL match against Delhi Capitals at Feroz Shah Kotla last year. PIC/AFP

Selflessness defines a leader in Rohit Sharma's captaincy rulebook and that's why he has no hesitation in calling himself the "least important person" in the Mumbai Indians team, the most successful franchise in IPL's history. Indian cricket will hit the restart button with the IPL from September 19 in the UAE even as the world continues its frenzied battle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The man, who led Mumbai Indians to four titles knows that as captain, it will not just be about him getting back into the groove after a forced seven-month break.

"I believe in the theory that when you are captain, you are the least important person. Others become more important in the larger scheme of things. It works differently for different leaders but as far as I am concerned, this theory works for me," Rohit said. Suresh Raina recently compared Rohit's cool quotient to that of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He prefers to play down the comparison but there is one undeniable similarity between the two—Rohit can remain as unfazed as the former India captain in the most difficult of situations.

"Not showing anger is not a conscious effort," he laughs. "That's a natural instinct that you have and you don't try and be someone that you are not. Try and be yourself all the time," he said. "You do get angry, lose temper at times but it's important not to show it to your teammates. Hiding your emotions is the most crucial part."The India vice-captain believes that there is "enough time" before the IPL starts and he would slowly build on his strength, stamina and skills during the next one month after the long lay-off. "Hopefully, the gym will open this week and I can start my indoor [strength training] sessions. Right now, due to Mumbai monsoons, you can't train outdoors. I am planning to write a letter to MCA [on using the indoor facilities]," he said. Having won the 2018 Asia Cup in Dubai, he has a fair idea of what awaits his team next month in terms of conditions.

Rohit said the plan is to build up slowly after being away from his bat for the longest he can remember. "We have a lot of time in our hands...I will be taking it slow. Luckily, I don't think there is any rush that I need to show. We have enough time. I will work on getting back to the ground slowly because the temperature in Dubai is 40 degrees. It's not easy," he said.

"It's the longest gap that I have ever had in my career without holding a bat. It will be a bit challenging. Unless I play, I will not know where I am and how I feel but body is completely fine. I feel physically stronger than ever because of the last four months," Rohit said.
He has consistently been in touch with MI's core team of strategists on conference calls, discussing details of the challenge ahead in the UAE, where the IPL will be held in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

"It's a good environment to be in. It's challenging but I love challenges and I want an environment like this. My mind has been relaxed for the last five months...," he said. "...Your planning changes a lot. Pitches in Dubai are a bit on the slower side. The pitches are not so different from India but yes overhead conditions will be a big factor as you are not always used to playing in 40 degrees which can be a bit of a challenge," he explained.

"As much as we sit and plan things here, it could completely change once we are there and check out the conditions," he felt.

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First Published: 06 August, 2020 07:18 IST

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