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The Economic Times

I stopped thinking about Test career: Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is in a "great space" in his life. India's white-ball vice-captain enjoyed a phenomenal 2019 in which he scored a record 2,442 runs as an opener across three formats and more importantly took up the challenge of being a Test opener with stupendous success.

"I am a different Rohit in terms of how I think. I am in such a great space in my life because of the family that I have — my wife (Ritika) and daughter (Samaira). I am not worried about what others are talking," Rohit told PTI in an interview looking back at the 12 eventful years of his career in international cricket.

For someone, who has received bouquets and brickbats in equal measure, the 32-year-old is no longer bothered by criticism. "They (wife and daughter) fill me with love and happiness and I try to stay within that rather than thinking about X, Y or Z making comments about me," he said. "I have actually passed that age to react to someone talking good or bad things about me. Frankly speaking, it doesn’t matter anymore." A double century on his "debut" as Test opener against South Africa gave India the kind of momentum they were desperately looking for after Virender Sehwag's exit from the scene.

But ask Rohit about it and he says, "Honestly speaking, I stopped thinking about Test matches long time back." And the obvious question is why? "Earlier, I was thinking too much about success in Tests. I would go overboard as to why is this happening, why am I playing that shot. After each Test innings, I would go to our video analyst, sit, watch and then confuse (clutter) my brain further. That wasn't actually the right thing that I was doing," recalled one of India's greatest white ball players.

"Thinking too much about technique was not allowing me to enjoy the game. All that was there in my mind was 'Oh I need to do well in Test cricket'. So, before 2018-19 Australia series, I told myself 'Boss whatever has to happen will happen and I am not going to think about technique'. "At the end of the day, I want to go out there, share a laugh with my mates and enjoy," the stylish Mumbaikar revealed. Many thought that the South Africa series was his last shot at redemption as a Test cricketer. "If you talk about opening in the SA series, from people's perspective, it was my last chance but I am a sportsman and I can't think like that. If I thought it was my last chance then I wouldn't have scored runs with that mindset.

"You can't allow negative thoughts to creep in when you are playing such a high profile sport," he said.

But at the same time, he is realistic enough to admit that he had to grab the opportunity that came his way. "I know that I am no longer 22 or 23 years old that I will keep getting opportunities in Test matches and can take my place for granted. I know that every time I go out there, I have to put a high price tag on my wicket. I am blessed to get an opportunity that many are waiting for. So, why should I regret worry or think about so many things?"
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