Background image

‘Rohit Sharma is a bit laid-back,’ Sourav Ganguly says

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said Wednesday that national team skipper Rohit Sharma has “a bit laid-back" captaincy style.

Following Virat Kohli's resignation as Test captain after a series defeat in South Africa, Sharma was named captain in all formats earlier this year. The 35-year-old is the only captain in IPL history to have won five championships. He has yet to lose a series since becoming full-time captain.

“Rohit Sharma is obviously a bit laid-back, who takes things in a very calm and cautious way and not someone who’s into your face all the time,” Ganguly said during a Bengal Peerless event on "Leadership in Modern India".

While avoiding comparing Sharma to his predecessor, Ganguly praised former captains MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. He then emphasized the importance of giving Sharma time before he can finally shine.

“India has produced some great captains over the years,” he said. “MS Dhoni who handled the transition fantastically, and continues to bring accolades not just for India but his franchise [Chennai Super Kings]. Then came Virat Kohli who also has a fantastic record. He was a different sort of captain, he did things differently.”

“Every individual is different but what matters is the result and how many wins and losses you have. I don’t compare captains, everybody has their way of leadership. We give responsibility to someone, then we want him to do the things the way we want it, and I think that’s not correct. When you back someone let him captain, give him a bit of time to give results, and then see what happens.”

Sharma’s approach to captaincy

Following India's early exit from the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, Sharma and Rahul Dravid took charge of the team. They abandoned India's old safety-first approach in favour of a more aggressive one.

"After the T20 World Cup in Dubai, when we didn't qualify [for the semi-finals], we felt that there needs to be a change in our attitude, in our approach in how we play the game," Rohit said.

"So, we had a clear message given to the boys and they were ready to accept the challenge. If the messages are clear from the captain and the coach, and where the team is trying to head, the individuals will definitely try and do that. And for that they need freedom, they need clarity, which is what we are trying to do. We are trying to give them as much freedom as possible."

From January 2019 to the end of the T20 World Cup in November 2021, Sharma's first-ten-ball strike rate was 119.6. Despite being higher than his T20I debut strike rate of 108.20 from September 2007 to December 2018, he was still below the curve. However, after recovering from COVID-19, his strike rate rose to 153.60, which ranks third among openers.

Sharma's overall T20I strike rate in the powerplay also demonstrates his shift in strategy. Between January 2019 and the end of last year's T20 World Cup in November, he averaged 139.07 in the first six overs of T20Is. It has also risen to 147.82 since the beginning of 2022. It is the highest among openers who have played at least ten innings this year.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.