Mumbai Indians may have incurred their worst possible season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the side looking to avoid the wooden spoon with two more games to play. Despite the poor show South Africa cricket legend Shaun Pollock hailed Rohit Sharma for his captaincy over the years and how he has successfully changed the franchise since joining Mumbai Indians in 2011. (Follow IPL 2022 full coverage)
Rohit did not start his IPL career at Mumbai Indians. He was picked by Deccan Chargers in the inaugural edition and played for the franchise for three seasons before joining MI in 2011. He was later named the skipper in 2013, taking over the responsibility from Ricky Ponting and led Mumbai to their first ever title that season.
Speaking on Rohit, Pollock recalled how the young batter had impressed him with his leadership skills back 2011 and how MI had already identified him as a future leader of the franchise.
“We definitely identified him in the early years as a person who could be a possible captain. He was in our selection panel in the two years that I was there, in 2011 and 2012. He was very mature beyond his years in many ways. Whether he was able to do the captaincy or wanted to do it as early as he could, that was going to be the big question. But since he’s taken over, he has delivered five titles. He has gone from strength to strength and his performances have been great as well. He’s been fantastic for the Mumbai franchise, as Dhoni has been for CSK,” he told Cricbuzz.
It is never easy to replace a legendary cricketer, let alone a skipper, but Pollock admitted that Rohit had comfortably eased in after taking over the role from Ponting.
“From a leadership perspective, he settled on his own style quite quickly. He managed to implement that and stick with that. At the time (he took over), Ricky Ponting was playing at that stage. That would have helped a little bit from the thought process perspective. He’s done fantastically well,” he said.
The former MI skipper further added that Rohit had already commanded respect from his teammates having won the 2007 T20 World Cup for India. He had also won the IPL trophy with Deccan Chargers as well.
“He seemed a bit unflappable in many ways. He was a character who was very calm in the background. He’d have a few cricketing discussions and the reasoning behind some of the decisions that he suggested be made had some really good cricketing sense. He commanded that respect. He played in that T20 World Cup that they ended up winning. He couldn’t have been more than 19-20 at the time. Everyone respected him and thought highly of him as a cricketer and as a thinker as well.”