Difficult to find place in star-studded Test team: Rohit
Mumbai: Aware of the difficulties of breaking into the star-studded Indian Test middle-order, talented Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma is optimistic of grabbing the chance with both hands whenever it comes his way.
"Right now there is only one place in the top seven available. Rest all is covered. There are four-five players competing for the same spot. So it is a little bit difficult (to make it to Test team). But ultimately my aim is to be a good Test player," said the 24-year-old batsman.
While he did not take any names, he was apparently referring to the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Chesteshwar Pujara and himself.
Sharma, who narrowly lost out a chance to make his debut in the longer version of the game against South Africa at Nagpur due to a freak injury just before toss while playing football in 2010, said it was a disappointing moment for him.
"It was a big disappointment. You can`t predict about injuries. Injuries are not in your hand. It can happen anytime. Like it happened with Zaheer (Khan) in the first Test (at Lord`s). It was unfortunate.
"It (my career) would have been different had I scored runs in that match. Let`s just say I will be a more mature player when I make my Test debut. It`s not about when you play your first Test match, it is how mature you are when you do that," said the batsman, who has scored 1,505 runs in 66 ODIs.
Sharma, player of the tournament in the just concluded five-match ODI series in the Caribbean, said he had started practicing for ODI leg of the ongoing England tour, for which he is expected to be selected.
"I have been working on my batting as of now. I have been practising at the BKC premises (in Mumbai) and am working on a few strokes. In England, the conditions will be difficult.
There will be bounce and swing. Luckily, we have two-three practice matches before the one-day matches. Hopefully, I will acclimatise soon," said Sharma.
He had scored 257 runs in five matches, including an unbeaten 86 in a difficult chase at Antigua in the third ODI, to help India secure a 3-2 win.
Sharma expressed confidence said that the Indian squad, which lost the first Test against England at Lord`s by 196 runs, will bounce back, and said the No 1 team could take inspiration from its 2010 tour to South Africa where they fought back after a similar loss in the opening match.
"I`m sure India will bounce back. The next Test is at Trent Bridge where we won the last time around with Zaheer picking up about 4-5 wickets in each innings. Though he may not be around we have got quite a few other good bowlers.
"There is no doubt about India`s batsmen. They must have acclimatised by now. They didn`t have many practice games (before the first Test) and England bowlers also bowled very well.
"If you look at India`s tour of South Africa, India lost the first Test (at Centurion) and won in Durban and almost won the series. Conditions are similar in both places. I`m sure India will do well here too," he said.
Stating that not being part of the World Cup winning side was the biggest disappointment of his life, Sharma said missing out on the mega-tournament gave him time to work on his skills and fitness.
"It was the biggest disappointment for me. It has gone now. India have won the World Cup. It`s not the end of the world for me. I have to move forward.
"(The omission) It also helped me in a lot of ways as I got time to work on my skills and fitness which showed during the IPL and the West Indies tour," he added.
Stating that scoring runs in the West Indies was satisfying, the right-handed batsman said playing in the Indian Premier League helped him adjust to the conditions.
"It was very satisfying. I was very much looking forward to the West Indies tour after IPL. It was important that youngsters took the responsibility as many senior players were rested. And we did well to win the ODI as well as the Test series.
"The conditions (in the West Indies) were similar to what we had here. I would like to mention that playing in the IPL in the hot conditions too helped as the weather was similar there," he said.
On being in and out of the team in the past, Sharma said, "It was a difficult phase. Every cricketer has to go through that. I`m not special. I have learnt a lot from that phase.
Having said that I don`t want to let go off the opportunities I get."