Rohit Sharma ready to open innings for India in all three formats

Rohit Sharma was impressive with the bat for Mumbai Indians during the CLT20 2013 © IANS

By Sabi Hussain

New Delhi: Oct 7, 2013

After guiding Mumbai Indians to their second Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) title, captain Rohit Sharma said he is ready to open the innings in all three formats of the game for India and that he has been waiting for the opportunity for the last six years.

“Modern cricket is such that you cannot lock your place. I am ready for last six years to play in all three formats. Hopefully, I will get an opportunity soon,” Sharma said at the post-match press conference after Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs in the final of the CLT20 in New Delhi on Sunday.

“I am waiting for the Test cap and hopefully I’ll get it soon. I am waiting for the right time and opportunity,” he said.

A freak injury just before the Nagpur Test in 2010 had delayed his Test debut but with the West Indies tour round the corner, Sharma would be hoping to finally get to play the traditional format.

In February 2010, Sharma was set to make his Test debut against South Africa but he injured himself while playing football in the warm-up on the first morning of the match.

He was also part of the squad for the third Test at home against the West Indies in November 2011 and the four-Test Australia series in 2011-12 but could not make the playing eleven.

Sharma capped off an impressive T20 season as a captain by securing the second trophy in a year after winning the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 in May and the Mumbai player admitted there were a lot of expectations from them.

“It wasn’t easy for us. There were a lot of expectations and I think we held our nerve well. We showed a lot of character in the tournament,” he said.

Sharma said he was never worried about the form of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and called him a “great match winner” for the team.

Harbhajan took three wickets in the 17th over during his haul of four for 32 to derail Rajasthan’s chase of a 203-run target at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

“Harbhajan is a great match winner. I was not worried about his form. He is a big match player and brought us back into the game. His three wickets in an over proved crucial for us,” Sharma said.

Glenn Maxwell also played a great knock. It was a crucial knock as he timed his shots to perfection. We knew his strength, and that is why we drafted him in the side,” Sharma said of the Australian who blasted a 14-ball 37. “For Rajasthan, Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane really played very well.”

Sharma, however, insisted the match was not decided in one or two overs.

“I don’t think that way. This match was not decided in one or two overs. On a wicket like this and in the final, where we scored 200-plus runs, we were always in the match. We scored some 140-plus runs in the last 10 overs. The track was flat, there was the dew factor. I feel all 40 overs mattered here.”

Sharma said he has always believed in leading from the front just like his Indian team captain MS Dhoni.

“When you play well, then you inspire your team. I have got good support from my teammates, we have a good understanding. I like to take the charge and lead from the front. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has done it so many times by leading from the front. He has inspired people by his own performance,” he said.

Talking about the upcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia, where each fielding team will be given two new balls to be used in alternate overs, one at each end, Sharma said it would make the job of openers a lot more responsible to provide the team with a good start.

“It wouldn’t be a problem for me. It’s important for openers like Shikhar Dhawan and me to provide our team with a good start and lay a strong platform for other batsmen. However, it would restrict certain shots that you play. We will adjust to it,” he said.