Former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha revealed how the great Adam Gilchrist had spotted leadership qualities in Rohit Sharma when he had just started to play at the highest level. Ojha’s comments came after Rohit on Wednesday was named as India’s ODI and T20I captain. The opener will take over the ODI reins from Kohli in the upcoming series in South Africa in January. India are slated to play three ODIs in South Africa. Apart from the limited-overs set-up, Rohit was also elevated as the vice-captain of the Test side, replacing Ajinkya Rahane, who had been struggling for form of late.
Ojha said Rohit was not projected as leader when he first came on the scene but he slowly started to gain confidence when he was inducted into the leadership group of IPL franchise Deccan Chargers mainly due to the persistence of former Australia wicketkeeper-batter Gilchrist. The former attacking opener was an integral part of the DC set up and even led them to the IPL title in 2009. “When Rohit first came into the Mumbai side, he was never projected as a leader. Slowly things started to change when he was put in the core group of the Deccan Chargers. Adam Gilchrist wanted Rohit Sharma to be the vice-captain,” Ojha said on a podcast.
Rohit, who made his India debut at the age of 20 back in 2007, played three seasons for Deccan Chargers before being picked up by Mumbai Indians in 2011, where he would go on to become IPL’s most successful captain. “It had just maybe been two years that he had started playing international cricket but when he used to give feedbacks about certain players or give a certain game plan then the team management started to see the leadership qualities in him. Discussions had started within the Deccan Chargers team that if anyone was going to replace Gilchrist, it can be Rohit. “People’s perspective about Rohit started to change from then that he is not only a capable batter but also can be a captain in future,” Ojha added.