I Was Not Expecting To Be Selected, Says Rohit Sharma

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‘Yeh hai youngistaan meri jaan’ seems to fit in appropriately for this young lad from the city that never sleeps. He was the rescuer to the Indian side in Twenty20 World Cup quarters. From being an unrecognized Mumbai player to India’s overnight star, Rohit Sharma has proven what it takes to be a match-winner.

In an interview with Preeti Hoon , Rohit admits his inexperience in longer version of the game that has kept him out of the upcoming South Africa Test series. And in a very delightful way, confesses his passion for cars too.

You have not been selected for the upcoming South Africa Test series. What was your reaction? 

Like I have always said, selection is not in anyone’s hands. Even I was not expecting to be selected in the Test squad against South Africa. I have not played much of four day games and if you want to get selected you must be experienced enough in the same format. I feel I need to play lot more of longer version of the game, need to do well and I guess there’s still time for me.

You were part of Team India that registered a historic tri-series win Down Under. How does it feel to defeat world No.1 Australia on their soil? 

It’s a great feeling to beat Australia in Australia because it’s not that easy. We will continue our winning spree in future as well.

How do you see your life changed after this glorious victory? 

It has changed in many different ways. The kind of reception we got when we arrived in India was fabulous. People have started recognizing me more which was not the case before this tour. And there’s nothing like it.

You were always confident of beating Australia in the tri-series finals. What made you so optimistic? 

(Smiles) Yes, optimism was the key to our success. We went with a positive mind in Australia and all the youngsters were confident enough to beat the Aussies.

How was the on-field aggression? 

We were on our toes right from the first game. And we enjoyed the sledging part too. It was a great experience.

Sachin Tendulkar found out a great combination with you in the first tri-series final and had all the praises and compliments for you. How does it feel? What did he exactly tell you? 

(Smiles) It was a great feeling to bat with a legend like him and I was enjoying every moment when I was with him at the crease. When I came in to bat, I didn’t feel any sort of pressure. As soon as I came, Sachin made me comfortable by advising me and gave me some useful tips. He asked me to play my natural game. And also, not to think about anything else, just concentrate and we will win it today for India. That made me really comfortable. It was the only reason that allowed me to play my natural game.

What about the controversy-ridden tour Down Under, did that distract you? 

Yes, as everyone knows, there were a lot of controversies. But we just concentrated on our game. And because of such things happening around, it only made us tougher, focused and we performed even better. All the youngsters in the team, including me, were concentrating on the match as we had nothing to do with the controversies.

You often spoke with Harbhajan Singh about the controversies. Did you give any kind of advice? 

No I didn’t give him any advice. On the field or off the field, we never discussed it (controversies). We always talked about the game.

You came in limelight after the crucial knock in Twenty20 World Cup against South Africa. Did that give you a ‘top of the world’ feeling? 

Yes, of course. It was an amazing feeling. I’m really happy that it came at the right time when the team needed the most. It was a great feeling at the end of the day.

Pepsi has signed you and Ishant for their ‘youngistaan’ campaign whereas, Sourav Gagnuly and Rahul Dravid being their ambassadors for quite some time now, have been dropped as they could not make it to the One-day squad in Australia. What do you have to say on that? 

I would not be able to comment on this as it’s just the matter of time. We all know, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are legendary players and such things happen. There’s nothing much to talk about it. Definitely I am very happy to be associated with Pepsi. But rather than thinking about this, I’m more into my play. It’s just the beginning for me and I know all these (ad offers) things will come eventually. It’s very important at this stage of my life, I can only think of cricket and more cricket.

What were your expectations from Indian Premier League? 

We were in Australia that time of bidding, so didn’t know much about it. Though some of the guys (players) had an idea as to what was going on (in Mumbai). We knew all the players who would play in IPL would be getting good money.

How does it feel to be a part of IPL’s Hyderabad team? Were you expecting to be in Mumbai side? 

I was expecting to play for Mumbai. It’s a disappointment if you are from Mumbai and you are not playing for it. Somehow, it’s unfortunate to miss out on Mumbai but playing for Hyderabad is also good and it’s my hometown and I’m fine with it. It’s just the matter of 44 days.

How will you find yourself placed with Andrew Symonds in same IPL team? What will be the strategy like? 

(Exclaims) Strategy? Let’s see what happens when we all meet together.

What will you do with the humungous amount of money you will get from IPL? 

Firstly I would like to buy a car because I’m very passionate about it. My favourite is BMW of course. I do have couple of cars in my mind, let’s see after IPL.

(Originally published in Times of India Online)

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Preeti Is Bound To Shine! – Raghav Verma, Co-Founder, Chaayos
I Was Not Expecting To Be Selected, Says Rohit Sharma