Rohit will be regarded as highly as Tendulkar, Dravid when he retires: Harbhajan

Harbhajan Singh, former teammate of Rohit Sharma at Mumbai Indians, said he spotted the special talent of the Mumbai batsman in the 2007 T20 World Cup.

Rohit Sharma is fondly called the "Shana of Borivali" by his teammates.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Thursday heaped praise on Indian opener Rohit Sharma by comparing and putting him in the same bracket as Indian legends Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid.

Speaking in a live interaction during the digital launch of the latest book on the Mumbai batsman titled ‘The Hitman’, written by eminent journalists Vijay Lokapally and G.Krishnan, Harbhajan said the flamboyant opener will be regarded as highly as Tendulkar and Dravid when he retires.

ALSO READ| Cricket Australia seeks government approval to relax quarantine for Rohit, Ishant

"Right from the 2007 T20 World Cup, I saw (in him) someone who’s got big talent and you could sense he’s going to be a special player for India," said Harbhajan. "He always reminds me of Inzamam-ul-Haq, having so much time, especially while playing fast bowling. He bats on a different surface than the others when he is set."

 

'Rohit, calm and candid'

Former India spinner Kartik Murali, who was also part of the session, lauded Rohit's calm demeanour as a key factor in helping him lead the Mumbai Indians to five IPL titles.

"IPL and Indian cricket is completely different. There is more pressure in the IPL as you are answerable to a lot of people. Now that he has stamped his authority in international cricket as well, he can express more things silently, but Rohit has led by example," said the cricketer-turned commentator.

ALSO READ| Australia vs India ODI series: Top run-getters, wicket-takers

Kartik found Rohit’s free-spoken character as a striking feature despite his senior stature in Indian cricket.

"That is one thing I love about Rohit - there are no cliche statements and he will say what's need to be said. Even Virat (Kohli) is quite like that," said Kartik.

'Shana of Borivali'

A jovial Harbhajan also revealed why Sharma, who hails from the suburb of Borivali in Mumbai, is called the the 'Shana of Borivali'.

"We call him Shana (clever) not only because of his batting or the dialect of the area he comes from, but he was also a secret lover," Harbhajan said. 

"He had kept his relationship with Ritika as a secret for over two years and since their marriage, Rohit has become a total family man," he added.

ALSO READ| India vs Australia ODIs, Head-to-head records, stats in Australia

‘The Hitman’ covers the journey of Rohit Sharma from his early days to his success as one of modern cricket’s finest batsmen.

Rohit, who has amassed over 14,000 international runs, is currently recuperating from a hamstring injury at the National Cricket Academy and remains doubtful for the Test series against Australia which will begin on December 17.

 

Listen - Podcast - India's tour to Australia begins - the biggest talking points ahead of the high-stakes tournament

 

  Dugout videos