Across all innings, he has faced 866 balls. That’s close to 144 overs. The hours spent batting in the nets can be counted separately. Probably as many, or more. There’s this final Test match coming up. He’s determined to bat; spend time out there; do another Oval, or maybe better?
“Most pleasing was that I was able to play 250 balls,” he said after Monday’s win. He’s looking forward to something similar. Those who have his ear insist where he aspires to be is in a state of contentment inside his own mind.
It’s an Inception of sorts playing out for him — a man living his dream is now dreaming of a dream he wants to come true. To win his country a Test series in England, to face Anderson one last time in England and come back undefeated.
43 Test matches in eight years don’t do justice to the batsman he is. Who’ll know this better than him.
Another Oval-like outing at Old Trafford could propel Rohit from being among one of the greatest of white-ball openers now working to become a good Test match batsman to becoming that good Test match batsman. That’s precisely what he
That’s why when Craig Overton bowls that line between the middle and leg, aimed at his upper body, Rohit doesn’t pull. He ducks. That’s why he won’t drive Woakes, despite the bowler’s continuing glare and that irking grin. Ignore. Look down and bat. Quite unlike the Rohit we’ve come to know over the years. The one whose own line “this is my natural game” often came back to bite him in Test whites.
‘Intent’, that much-glorified Indian dressing room term is finally shining through. For all the riches and rewards that a cricketer could bestow himself with, especially in a country like India, Rohit has earned them all except two: 1) A 50-over World Cup win against his name; 2) Test match
No wonder he turned out to be the highest scorer in the 2019 ICC World Cup; 648 runs from nine innings. Missing the 2011 World Cup had hurt. No wonder Test cricket matters now.
At 34 going on 35, playing for IPL’s fanciest franchise, having won five titles and proved his abilities as a batsman and leader, and with three World Cups coming up in three years – in formats that he’s gone on to own – Rohit could’ve easily put his feet up, watched this Test series on television and flown to the UAE in time for the IPL.
After all, he’d be India’s biggest weapon up the order in the upcoming T20 World Cup anyway.
“That’s exactly what he hates. Being perceived that way,” say those he spends most of his time with. “Those old lines that stuck with him – ‘natural talent, Rohit is’; ‘all the time he’s got to play a delivery’; ‘lazy elegance’. No, that’s not what he wants. Only he knows what he wants, and he wants to earn it the right way, the hard way,” his friends say.
Well, they know him better than most. The day Rohit and Ritika, his wife, had a baby girl, their lives changed.
“Samaira’s birth put him on a different path in life,” says one of his friends.
He’s walking that path now.