New Delhi: He is hailed as one of the most talented batsmen and yet Rohit Sharma is not sure of a place in the Indian team even after three years of international cricket. He may be wondering why he is not in either the Test or One-day squad.
Rohit all the same realises that he is to be blamed if he is unable to cement his place in the national side and says he has learnt from his mistakes and hopes to be back in the reckoning soon.
"I have learned from my mistakes and I have been working on my game. It`s true I have been in and out of the team but that is bound to happen. Every player goes through it and it`s good that it has happened to me early in my career. It`s been a learning curve. I only intend to improve from here," Rohit told reporters.
Rohit`s class has never been in doubt. Like some of his illustrious peers, he is wristy and his strokes have the stamp of lazy elegance.
For all his immense talent, he has lost his way somewhere down the road and people started questioning his temperament and attitude. He is now keen on making up for the lost time quickly.
The Mumbaikar made his mark in the 2006 under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka and soon made his ODI debut against Ireland at Belfast in 2007. He came very close to getting his Test cap early this year when he was brought in as cover for injured Rahul Dravid for the first Test against South Africa at Nagpur. But on the morning of the match he got hurt and had to miss it.
From then on it has been a struggle to get into the national squad. He kept going thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL). He is considered an all-rounder after his hat-trick for the Deccan Chargers in the 2009 edition.
The Nagpur-born batsman is now roughing it out on the domestic circuit, and doing what he knows best -- scoring big runs. This season he already has an unbeaten double century against Bengal and last week he charmed the capital`s cricketing fraternity with a fluent 148 against Delhi, to deny the hosts a Ranji Trophy knockout berth. The turn-around started late last year when he proved that he can compile big scores by hitting a triple century against Saurashtra.
"This has been a good Ranji season for me. I am back among the runs in a big way and I am happy with my batting," said Rohit.
He began the year scoring his maiden ODI century against Zimbabwe in a tri-series in Bulawayo in May and followed it up with another one in the next match against Sri Lanka, an unbeaten 101, before form eluded him. The rise of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan has made the chances of a comeback tougher, but Rohit is unfazed.
"I can`t be bothered about who is doing well. My focus should be on doing my job well and scoring runs. The fact that there are so many contenders for a place in the team augurs well for Indian cricket. The rivalry among us is healthy. I am happy for Virat. On the field we may be competitors but off it we get along well," he said.
Many blame the easy money from Indian Premier League for the casual approach of youngsters and their diminishing hunger for runs.
Rohit disagrees. "I don`t think that it could be a reason for not performing. Everyone knows that when you represent India in cricket, there will be money and fame coming your way. I definitely like to do well in the Twenty20 cricket but at the same time I am determined to do well in all three formats of the game."
"I also want to play Test cricket for India. I am growing as a cricketer and I would like to do well in the longer format of the game. I have performed well in first class cricket and I hope to carry it into the Tests, if given a chance."
His inclusion in the preliminary 30-man World Cup squad has been a reprieve but Rohit insists his focus as of now is working on his game.
"I am not looking at the World Cup, whether I am selected or not. My focus is on improving myself and scoring runs. As of now my priority is Mumbai. We are in the (Ranji) quarterfinals and I hope to do well in the remaining games," he said.