Rohit Sharma had talent when he was 11


Rohit Sharma 1

Rohit Sharma, 25, has batting talent to burn but his performances have not matched his potential so far. He has represented India in 88 one-day internationals and 35 T20 internationals but is yet to play a Test. He first came to limelight when he showed his class and immaculate timing at number 3 in the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006. He looked classy when he represented India in their triumphant ICC World T20 performance in 2007 and the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia in early 2008, scoring an eye-catching 66 in the first final in Sydney.


Gaurav Joshi in India catches up with Rohit’s coach Dinesh ”˜Raju’ Lad.

When did you first see Rohit Sharma and what really stood out?

Rohit first came to the nets I coached [at Malad in Mumbai] when he was around 11. At that age he stood out because he could execute the training drills more efficiently than others. Such things like simply stroking the ball, he seemed to have a nice flow and it came naturally.

Was he disciplined or you had to yell at him?

Yes, he was disciplined. There was probably only one occasion when I had to yell at him but that was because he would stay up late talking with this watchman in the building who used to live in and Rohit never got enough sleep.    He didn’t come late to training but I could tell he had not slept and needed to explain to him the benefits of resting before cricketing matches.

Not only have you helped him in his cricket but also in life in general?

Once I knew he had the potential to go all the way it was important he remained focused on the game and he was given all the necessities a cricketer needs. Rohit was staying at his uncle’s flat [family of five plus Rohit] which was so small, he often could not stick to a regime such as going to sleep early because one member of the family would watch TV until late hours. At that time I assisted his family to get a bigger flat near my flat. It allowed me to keep an eye out on him. He used to come over for dinner lot of times, sleep on time and other things.

Why do people still question Rohit’s fitness?

There are some cricketers who always look lethargic, it is their natural body type.    If you observe school or college cricket there are many cricketers in that mould, but if he was really that lazy ”“ would he have still scored so many runs? The way Rohit walks people say look at him just strutting along  – but that is his style.    I have seen lazy kids and if Rohit was lazy he would have never made it into international cricket.

Did you speak to him after he was dropped for World Cup?

Yes, I spoke to him. He was disappointed but I could only give him advice to stay focused and concentrate on cricket.

Did you feel there were factors off the field that were affecting his performance on the field?

It is difficult for me to say because when Rohit was young I could keep tabs on him and I was his coach plus mentor so I could keep him under my radar.    Once he had become a senior cricketer I am not aware of what he is off the field.    Perhaps Rohit was hanging around with the wrong people  but it is new phase [money and fame] for cricketers so I do not think Rohit is the only guilty party. Other cricketers have been affected as well.

You must be proud to scout his talent and see him progress to the national ranks.

Yes, I am proud because cricket means a lot to me. I have been coaching and working side by side like many other coaches in Mumbai for 15 to 20 years and to see your student play for India is a proud moment. In saying that I think school coaches get too much credit. At the end of the day we are their first coach, we teach them the basics and correct their basic mistakes.    We do not make Rohit Sharmas or Tendulkars We simply find them and teach them basics. At the end of the day their talent is within and nobody can teach it.


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