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Rohit Sharma’s captaincy lauded after Sri Lanka whitewash

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BANGALORE: Cricketers and pundits on Tuesday praised Rohit Sharma’s “empathy” as captain after he led India to a fifth successive series victory since taking over from Virat Kohli.

India overwhelmed Sri Lanka by 238 runs inside three days in the pink-ball match on Monday to sweep the series 2-0 and extend their Test series win streak at home to 15.

Rohit, 34, is unbeaten in all formats in 14 matches as captain, but it is his different style of leadership from the usually combative Kohli that has won plaudits.

“There is something very disarming about him. He is talking up his players, he is giving his players an opportunity. I think there is far greater empathy,” said veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle on the Cricbuzz website.

“I don’t know if visibly he will be as aggressive as Virat Kohli, but he certainly brings a different flavour.”

Rohit, who has won five Indian Premier League titles with Mumbai Indians, became Test skipper last month having already taken over from Kohli in limited-over and Twenty20 cricket.

His hands-on approach with players has already been hailed by team-mates.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin spoke of the “human elements” in Rohit’s leadership after their opening win in Mohali last week.

Former players highlighted Rohit’s consistency as captain.

“Since Rohit became full time Captain: 3-0 vs NZ (T20I) 3-0 vs WI (ODI) 3-0 vs WI (T20I) 3-0 vs SL (T20I) 2-0 vs SL (Tests) #INDvSL,” said Wasim Jaffer on Twitter.

Rohit said he relied mainly on his cricketing instincts to guide his captaincy, while taking on board advice from the more experienced members of his squad.

“I got support from the team. There are a few senior members in the team who understand the game well and had their inputs as well,” Rohit said.

“I have my reading of the game as well. But eventually you work on instinct and my captaincy philosophy is to take a call on that point which seems right to you, keeping in mind of where the game is going.”

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2022

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