In cricket’s fast-evolving landscape, with the emergence of several franchise leagues, several players across the globe are choosing T20Is over ODI cricket. But for India captain Rohit Sharma, ODIs are still an important and integral part of the game.
Considered one of the most successful batters in ODIs, Rohit holds a unique record of scoring three double centuries in the format and says that ‘playing for the country matters the most’ for him.
“Mera naam hi one-day cricket se bana hai. People were earlier talking about Test cricket. For me, cricket is important - whatever be the format. I would never say that ODI is getting finished or T20 is getting finished or Tests are nearing an end. I wish there is another format as well, because for me, playing the game is most important,” Rohit said on the sidelines of a Rohit Sharma sustainable collection launch by Adidas.
“Playing for the country matters the most. Since childhood, I dreamt of playing the game for India and in my mind. Whenever we play ODIs, stadiums are full, the excitement remains high. It’s an individual choice as to which format to play or not, but for me, all three formats are important…”
The South African and UAE T20 leagues have attracted several IPL (Indian Premier League) franchises to own teams and with some of the biggest names set to feature in those tournaments, there is a belief that many players could eventually choose franchise cricket over national duty.
“It’s a difficult question. I don’t know what people are thinking about playing leagues over international cricket. There will be 10 more leagues, but in the coming years, we will get to know what the players prefer. But as of now, the situation of Indian cricket remains the same - we play the IPL and international cricket. The guys are getting exposure and our aim is to create bench strength, so that’s why in Zimbabwe, there are a lot of players who are touring for the first time - be it Shahbaz Ahmed, Rahul Tripathi - and it is a good exposure. They are really talented, they will grab the opportunity. It’s about getting the confidence at this stage, which I am sure they will learn,” the India captain said.
While he has been one of the most successful batters in world cricket, Rohit’s track record as a captain in the IPL is equally envious. Under his leadership, Mumbai Indians has managed to win a record five titles.