Summer of content for Rohit in the Caribbean
Antigua: Even as the Indian cricket coach Duncan Fletcher joins the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne in heaping praise on batsman Rohit Sharma, the purists only hope that it`s not again just a case of false dawn.
For a batsman of Rohit`s calibre, it is surprising that he has had a roller-coaster ride so far in his career and has struggled to foment his place in the Indian national side.
Rohit has inspired India to two of its three ODI wins in the ongoing series against the West Indies with unbeaten knocks of 68 and 86.
But his success in the past have almost inevitably followed a string of failures, which explains why his career still flounders at average 30.63 after 64 games and why he is still not seen fit enough for Tests.
In 2008 in Australia, Rohit played two successive unbeaten knocks of 39 and 70 in a triangular series before his career fell in a mire and only 496 runs accrued over the next 33 One-day Internationals with just two half centuries.
Left out in the cold in 2009, he made a roaring comeback in Zimbabwe last year with successive centuries against the hosts and Sri Lanka in a triangular before the almost inevitable rut hit him again -- 290 runs from the next 17 One-day Internationals with just one half century.
He has now yet again made screaming headlines with two purest of knocks and critics believe that this time it is for real.
"He`s far more disciplined now," concedes stand-in-skipper Suresh Raina.
Rohit himself said that he "wants this tour to count" for him. While Raina feels that "it`s the time he has spent with Sachin for Mumbai Indians", Rohit feels missing out on World Cup was a catalyst and that he has worked "unbelievably hard on his cricket in the last three months".
Rohit actually never needed to work on his cricket, for many are convinced he is the most talented young batsman in the world. It`s his mind which is said to have been his own worst enemy.
From the time he lazily walks up to the crease; languidly settles into his stance and stroke a few in the outfield; Rohit seems so superior to the mortals around him that he tends to get bored all too easily and throws it away.
He seems devoid of hunger; unmindful of the use he could be to himself and to his country. He has truckload of time and this rare combination of technical astuteness and innovation which Ramnaresh Sarwan concedes "allows him to sneak upon you and within no time he has 40 on the board."
Ironically, the region which saw him touch his nadir in 2009 -- only 15 runs from four ODIs -- could as well restore him to the One-day side and earn him a Test cap.
On Saturday, after he had sealed the game in India`s favour with a winning four, Rohit turned around to pick up a stump as a souvenir. He finally might have begun to value himself, his talent, his team and his nation.
Almost every generation, India has produced a great, world-class batsman from Mumbai.
Rohit could be the next one, following on in the footsteps of Vijay Merchant, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.
If Rohit has indeed conquered the demons of his mind, Indian cricket can approach the moment of transition with hope and confidence.