Rohit Gurunath Sharma (born 30 April 1987) is an Indian international cricketer who captains the India national cricket team in ODIs and T20Is. Vice-Captain in Tests. He also plays for Mumbai in domestic cricket and captains Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League as a right-handed batsman and an occasional right-arm off break bowler. He is widely regarded as one of the best openers of all time.
Outside cricket, Sharma is an active supporter of animal welfare campaigns. He is the official Rhino Ambassador for WWF-India and is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He has worked with PETA in its campaign to raise awareness of the plight of homeless cats and dogs in India.
Sharma was born on 30 April 1987 in Bansod, Nagpur, Maharashtra. His mother, Purnima Sharma, is from Visakhapatnam. His father, Gurunath Sharma, worked as a caretaker of a transport firm storehouse. Sharma was raised by his grandparents and uncles in Borivali because of his father’s low income. He would visit his parents, who lived in a single-room house in Dombivli, only during weekends. He has a younger brother, Vishal Sharma.
Sharma joined a cricket camp in 1999 with his uncle’s money. Dinesh Lad, his coach at the camp, asked him to change his school to Swami Vivekanand International School, where Lad was the coach and the cricket facilities were better than those at Sharma’s old school.
Sharma recollects :
“I told him I couldn’t afford it, but he got me a scholarship. So for four years I didn’t pay a penny, and did well in my cricket”.
Sharma started as an off-spinner who could bat a bit before Lad noticed his batting ability and promoted him from number eight to open the innings. He excelled in the Harris and Giles Shield school cricket tournaments, scoring a century on debut as an opener.
Youth and domestic first-class career
Sharma made his List A debut for West Zone against Central Zone in the Deodhar Trophy at Gwalior in March 2005. Batting at number eight, he scored 31 not out as West Zone won by 3 wickets with 24 balls remaining. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja made their debuts in the same match. It was Sharma’s unbeaten innings of 142 in 123 balls against North Zone at the Maharanna Bhupal College Ground in Udaipur in the same tournament that brought him into the limelight. He visited Abu Dhabi and Australia with the India A squad and was then included among India’s 30-member probables list for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy tournament, although he did not make the final squad.
Sharma made his first-class debut for India A against New Zealand A at Darwin in July 2006. He scored 57 and 22 as India won by 3 wickets. He made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai in the 2006–07 season and scored 205 off 267 balls against Gujarat. Mumbai went on to win the tournament with Sharma scoring a half-century (57) in his second innings in the final against Bengal.
Sharma has spent his entire domestic first-class career at Mumbai. In December 2009, he made his highest career score of 309 not out in the Ranji Trophy against Gujarat. In October 2013, upon the retirement of Ajit Agarkar, he was appointed team captain ahead of the 2013–14 season.
- Test matches
In November 2013, during Sachin Tendulkar‘s farewell series, Sharma made his Test debut at Eden Gardens in Kolkata against the West Indies and scored 177, the second-highest score on debut by an Indian to Shikhar Dhawan (187). He followed it up with 111 (not out) in the second Test at his home ground, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Having been out of the Test team since 2017–18, Sharma went on the 2018–19 tour of Australia after he had earned a recall earlier. Chief selector M. S. K. Prasad said the reason for his recall was that his natural game suited the bouncy Australian pitches. Sharma played in the first Test in Adelaide, scoring 37 and 1 in an Indian victory. During the first Test, he sustained a minor injury which saw him miss the second Test in Perth. He recovered for the Boxing Day third Test at Melbourne and scored 63 (not out) to help India total 443/7 and win both the Test and the series. After the third Test, Sharma had to return to India for the birth of his daughter.
In October 2019, in the third Test against South Africa, Sharma scored his 2,000th run and his first double century in Tests. He made 212 in the first innings of the match. Sharma was named as vice-captain of India’s Test team during the tour of Australia in 2020, replacing Cheteshwar Pujara.
Sharma had a successful home series against England in 2021. Instrumental in his team’s comeback after a defeat in the first Test at Chennai, he scored a century, one that The Guardian termed “deserves to be considered one of the greatest this century.” He put on 167 runs with Ajinkya Rahane for the fourth wicket while making 161 runs in an innings that included 18 fours and two sixes. India went on to win the Test by 317 runs. He top-scored for his side in both innings of the low-scoring third Test in Ahmedabad with scores of 66 and 25 contributing to his team’s win. He finished the series aggregating 345 runs, the most for India, at 58.
He scored his first overseas Test century on 4 September 2021 with an innings of 127 against England at The Oval, also reaching the target of 3,000 runs in Test cricket. Sharma and KL Rahul became the first opening pair to score more than 300 runs for India in a single Test series in England.
- 2015 and 2019 Cricket World Cups
In March 2015, Sharma made his first appearance in the Cricket World Cup and played in eight matches for India in the 2015 tournament in Australia. India reached the semi-final stage where they were defeated by Australia. Sharma scored 330 runs in the tournament with one century, a score of 137 in the quarter-final against Bangladesh.
On 15 April 2019, Sharma was appointed vice-captain of India’s squad for the 2019 tournament in England. In the opening match against South Africa, he scored 122, including his 12,000th run in international cricket. In the match against Sri Lanka, he became the first batsman to score five centuries in the same World Cup tournament, and equaled Tendulkar’s record for the most centuries in all World Cup matches. Sharma totaled 648 runs in the tournament to finish as the leading run-scorer and win the ICC’s Golden Bat award, the third Indian player to do so.
- Other one-day international matches
Sharma made his full international debut in a one-day match against Ireland in Belfast on 23 June 2007. This was part of the 2007 Future Cup competition which also involved South Africa. He was number seven in the batting order but did not bat as India won the game by 9 wickets.
He scored his maiden ODI half-century (52) against Pakistan at Jaipur on 18 November 2007 and was selected for the Indian squad going to the 2007–08 Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia. In that series, he scored 235 runs at an average of 33.57 with 2 fifties, including 66 in the first final at Sydney when he partnered Sachin Tendulkar for most of India’s successful run chase. After that, however, his ODI performances suffered a downturn and he lost his middle-order position to Suresh Raina. Later, Virat Kohli took his position as the reserve batsman. In December 2009, following his triple century in the Ranji Trophy, he was recalled to the ODI team for the tri-nations tournament in Bangladesh as Tendulkar opted to rest in the series.
He scored his maiden ODI century (114) against Zimbabwe on 28 May 2010 and followed it up with another century in the next match of the tri-series against Sri Lanka on 30 May 2010 by scoring 101 not out. He had a run of poor form in South Africa just before the 2011 World Cup and as a consequence he was left out of India’s squad for the tournament.
Sharma was recalled to the limited-overs squad for the tour of the West Indies in June and July 2011. In the first match at Queen’s Park Oval, he scored 68 (not out) from 75 balls with three fours and a six. In the third match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, he scored a match-winning 86 off 91 balls after India had been reduced to 92 for 6.
He had a disastrous loss of form in 2012 and scored only 168 runs in the whole calendar year at the very low average of 12.92 with just a single half-century. Even so, his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed faith in him, and his career was revived in 2013. Dhoni decided to move him up the batting order to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. The pairing was a success and India won the competition, defeating hosts England in the final.
His good form continued and, later in the year against Australia, he scored 141 (not out) in Jaipur. He followed that with 209 off 158 balls in Bangalore and established a then-world record for the most sixes (16) in a one-day international innings (since beaten by Eoin Morgan of England with 17). On 13 November 2014, playing against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Sharma broke the world record for the highest score in a one-day international innings with 264 from 173 deliveries.
In December 2017, India’s captain Virat Kohli was rested for the series against Sri Lanka, in preparation for India’s tour to South Africa, which began in the first week of January 2018. In his place, Sharma was appointed team captain and India under his leadership won the series 2–1, their eighth consecutive series win since defeating Zimbabwe in June 2016.
In the year 2018, He led the team India to win ICC Asia Cup Finals against Bangladesh under his captaincy.
On 12 January 2019, in the opening match against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sharma scored 133 but it was in vain as India lost by 34 runs. It was his 22nd century in one-day internationals. At Delhi on 13 March 2019, in the fifth and final match of a home series against Australia, Sharma scored 56 including his 8,000th run in one-day internationals. It was his 200th innings. In 2019, he scored the most runs in ODIs by any batsman, with 1,490 runs in the year.
- Twenty20 international matches
Sharma was included in the Indian squad for the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and made his mark by scoring an unbeaten 50 from 40 deliveries against hosts South Africa in the quarter-finals. This enabled India to win the match by 37 runs and they went on to defeat Pakistan in the final, when Sharma scored 30 (not out) from 16 deliveries.
On 2 October 2015, during the South African tour of India, Sharma scored 106 in the first Twenty20 international at HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala. With that, he became the second Indian cricketer to have scored centuries in all three formats of international cricket. On 8 July 2018, during a series in England, Sharma became the second Indian batsman, after Virat Kohli, to score 2,000 runs in a Twenty20 international career. He was the fifth batsman worldwide to achieve the feat; the others besides Kohli were Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Shoaib Malik.
In 2018, He led the Team India to win the Nidahas Trophy under his captaincy.
In November 2019, in the opening match of the series against Bangladesh, Sharma became the most-capped cricketer for India in T20Is, playing in his 99th match. In the next match of the series, he became the first male cricketer for India to play in 100 T20Is.
In November 2020, Sharma was nominated for the ICC Men’s ODI and T20I Cricketer of the Decade awards. In September 2021, Sharma was named in India’s squad for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
On 8 November 2021, Sharma scored his 3,000th run in T20Is and became the 3rd batsman to do so, He also became the 2nd Batsman to have scored 3,000 in all three formats of the game
Indian Premier League
Sharma joined the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 when he was signed by the Deccan Chargers franchise, based in Hyderabad, for the sum of US$750,000 a year.In the 2011 auction, he was sold for US$2 million to the Mumbai Indians. He scored his only IPL century in the 2012 tournament with 109 (not out) against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Under his leadership, Mumbai has won the IPL in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020; they also won the former Champions League Twenty20 competition in 2013.
Sharma has been one of the most successful players in the IPL as captain since 2013 of the Mumbai Indians, who have won the tournament five times under his leadership. He is currently (March 2021) one of four players who have scored 5,000 career runs in the competition. Sharma has 5,200+ runs with one century and 40 half centuries and is the fourth-highest run scorer after Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and David Warner.
Sharma holds the world record for the highest individual score by a batsman playing in a one-day international match, having scored 264 against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on 13 November 2014. He is the only player to have scored three double-centuries in this form of international cricket. In January 2020, Sharma was named as the ODI Player of the Year by the International Cricket Council (ICC). During the 2019 World Cup, Sharma became the only batsman to scored five centuries in a single edition of the Cricket World Cup.
On 5 October 2019, during a Test match against South Africa, Sharma became the first batsman to score two centuries in a match on his first appearance as an opening batsman. In the same series, he broke Shimron Hetmyer’s record for the highest number of sixes in a Test series.
Sharma married Ritika Sajdeh in December 2015. They have a daughter, born in December 2018.
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