For long, one would hardly have been chastised for associating Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma as the face of memes and trolls spread all over the internet. Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as an image or a piece of text that is humorous in nature and spread across the internet mainly for the purpose of trolls, the Indian citizens had a field phase where every incident was humorously and hurtfully directed towards the batsman.
“India’s Maggi Man”, he was called. The player who has stayed at the crease for the shortest time in his career. Every match and every game that unfolded, the meme-makers were ready with their witty attacks and hilarious assaults.
2013: 1st Double Century
13th Nov: 2nd Double Century
13th Dec: 3rd Double Century
13th Dec: Got married
He should change his lucky number to 13!
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) December 13, 2017
It all started way back in 2007 when a young Indian team under the leadership of newly appointed captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni set foot in South Africa to play the first ever T20 World Cup. As Rohit made a mark in the tournament, the world and the nation stood up to witness the lazy elegance oozing out of the Mumbaikar with comfortable ease. Amongst the heroics of Yuvraj Singh, Rohit was side-lined as a future legend and when Sachin Tendulkar himself thought him worthy to overtake his own records, the country went ballistic.
He had grace. He had style. He had languid stroke-play and his timing would have made any player envious. He was calm and he was composed. But above all, his technique and his clean power-hitting made him a potential future stalwart.
— Kasturi Shankar (@KasthuriShankar) December 13, 2017
Maybe it worked against him. Maybe the dose of expectations set aside the youngster in his quest for glories. Maybe the words of the legend himself propelled him to the glares of the media and instead of working in his favour, it led to him being engulfed in condemnation and criticism. An average of just 30.43 in 86 games till 2012 hardly did justice to his “talent” and two centuries against Zimbabwe made one question the path to “greatness” that he was supposed to be on.
Where was the gasp when he planted his front foot against a fast delivery for a pull towards square leg? Where was the slog that was ballistic in its execution? Where was that famed calmness that allowed him to organise an innings without giving glimpses of possessing a nonchalant attitude; proud of his talents?
As his extraordinariness succumbed to the ordinary, the talks swivelled from the skilled knight to the hardworking one. Virat Kohli’s rise in Indian Cricket marked the evolution of the tattoo-adored players and quirky hairstyles; players who were engulfed in loud and brash mannerisms but took their cricket all too seriously. His upswing marked the phenomenon of hard work in the cricketing set-up and though not as hyped as his contemporary, he soon carved his own niche in world cricket.
Rohit was lagging behind. His captain Dhoni was often left red-faced at his persistence of the right-hander, who had hardly vindicated his choices, with below-par performances and outings that hardly inspired confidence.
But each individual waits for that one moment that will mark his initiation into the big cruel world. The instance that will relegate his shoddy days and bring about a revelation. The year 2013 proved just that for the cricketer, who had been pushed to open the innings in India’s successful campaign in the Champions Trophy that year.
However, it was against the mightiest that Rohit finally came off good. Against the Australians, he notched up 141 in Jaipur, chasing a target in excess of 360. However, he was once again undermined by the brilliance of Kohli and it was not until the ODI in Bangalore that the world started talking about his true potential.
On a flat, placid wicket, he scored his first double ton in 156 balls, the second coming in just 42. With 16 sixes and a flurry of well-timed shots, Rohit spelt doom for the rivals and ended the series with a tally of 491 runs, which to date remains a record. For those still questioning his doubts, stating that the knock came off on a placid track, the “Hitman”, as he was now being called, bettered his feat with a massive 264 against the Sri Lankans at his favourite hunting ground at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
— Mr. Viru (@VirenderSehweg) December 13, 2017
The unbeaten 208 against the Lankans was undoubtedly the best of the lot. Like poetry, he grooved to the easy deliveries and continued towards ecstasy in the good ones as well. He hardly had to flex his muscles en route the knock that was studded with twelve maximums and an array of shots that made one awe and gape at the majesty that is Rohit.
With an average of 74.62 at home since 2013, the once “Maggiman” has emphatically stamped his footmark in the realm of cricket. Once on song, he makes batting look ridiculously easy and finally is able to refute the remarks that had made him ridiculously talented sans consistency.