India vs Australia 2017

Comebacks from long-term injuries are ‘not at all easy’, says India’s Rohit Sharma

The 30-year-old said that conquering ‘inner demons’ was his biggest challenge after a six-month lay-off.

His batting looks easy on the eye as he effortlessly finds gaps on the field but India batsman Rohit Sharma insisted that making an international comeback after a six-month injury-forced layoff is easier said than done, PTI reported.

Sharma was out of competitive cricket for six months [Between October 2016 and April 2017] after a major hamstring injury. Since his comeback in One-day Internationals, which was during the Champions Trophy, he has scored three hundreds in 10 games.

“Comebacks are not at all easy. After a major surgery, the difficult part is to conquer the inner demons. It’s all in the mind. Only an individual can overcome his fears. My batting may look easy to the eye but trust me, it’s not that easy,” Sharma said.

Did he have fears that the injury might relapse while stretching for a run or stepping down the track to a spinner? The 30-year-old laughed it off, “The best part that happened to me was IPL started just after I completed my rehab. So, while captaining Mumbai Indians and taking on-field decisions, I couldn’t think about what would happen if I get injured [again].”

“And, when I was playing for India, my mind became blank while batting. There was no place for any negativity,” he said.

Preparations based on conditions, not opposition

The Mumbai batsman, who has 5737 runs from 163 ODIs, including 13 hundreds, explained how he successfully read Sri Lanka’s mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya after the latter picked up a six-wicket haul in the second ODI during the recent away series.

“The half century was special but I didn’t face Dananjaya much during that match. I was out only one over after he was brought into the attack. But in the next two games, I got hundreds and I had no problems playing him.”

So what did he do differently? “I realised that the speed of his googly was on the slower side while leg-breaks were faster. His off-break was easily negotiable. One thing we must know about these mystery spinners – they are bound to bowl loose deliveries and Dananjaya is no different.”

In the upcoming series against Australia, big knocks are expected from the India vice-captain, who believes in preparing for “conditions rather than opposition”. He said: “To each his own but my process of preparation is based on conditions not opposition. It won’t be any different when we face Australia.”

“In international cricket, the core group in most of the teams would remain same. So, you know what’s expected but they will operate in different conditions which is why the homework about conditions is the key. You need to know the shots you can play on particular pitches, how you want to plan your innings,” Sharma added.

‘Can’t take Australia lightly

When asked if Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s absence would affect Australia’s chances in the upcoming limited-overs series, Sharma said, “Of course, Starc is a quality bowler and his presence makes a difference but most of the Aussie boys have played IPL and are familiar with Indian conditions. They are a quality side and we can’t take them lightly.”

India skipper Virat Kohli has often stated that Sharma is the hardest hitter of the cricket ball in his team. “It’s nothing like that. I know one thing. If your shot crosses the ropes, you get six runs – whether the ball travels 75 or 110 metres. So it’s not always about power but about timing, body balance and position.”

Sharma’s elevation to vice-captaincy came on the back of being the only captain to lift three IPL titles. He has now set his sights of working in tandem with Kohli, “It’s an honour. My job is to help Virat in the field.

He is the captain and whenever he looks up around, I should be around to complement him and help him as much as I could,” Sharma said.

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