Cricket-Six-hitting machine Rohit brings PlayStation-like feel to batting

By Amlan Chakraborty

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) – Umpire Marais Erasmus was not the only one marvelling at Rohit Sharma’s six-hitting prowess during India’s comprehensive victory in Saturday’s World Cup blockbuster against Pakistan.

Watching him dismantle the Pakistan attack at the Narendra Modi Stadium, team mate Hardik Pandya, a formidable hitter himself, said it felt more “like PlayStation” than cricket with Rohit on the rampage.

Pakistan could not manage a single six but Rohit alone clobbered half a dozen as India, turbo-charged by the skipper’s 86 off 63 balls, completed a modest chase with nearly 20 overs to spare.

After hitting one of those monster sixes, the opener was seen flexing his muscle in front of a grinning Erasmus, an action he later explained to Pandya in a video released by the team.

“He was asking me the secret behind my big sixes, and if it had anything to do with the bat I use,” Rohit told Pandya.

“I was just telling him it was not my bat, but my power.”

The elegant right-hander overtook West Indian Chris Gayle’s record of 553 sixes in international cricket heading into the match against Pakistan. After Saturday’s match, Rohit also became only the third batter – after Gayle and Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi – to smash 300 sixes in one-day internationals.

“I have been trying to bat like this in the last two years,” Rohit said of his batting approach in the World Cup.

“Wickets are so good these days, I want to play my shots. I know I missed out on a hundred today.”

Rohit has three double hundreds in ODIs, only batter to have more than one, and his 264 against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains the highest individual score in this format.

His 11 sixes from three matches in the ongoing World Cup is second only to Sri Lankan Kusal Mendis’ 14 from two matches.

Former team mate Dinesh Karthik was in awe of Rohit’s effortless shot-making, especially his pull shot, against Pakistan.

“Whenever you talk about Rohit Sharma, there’s always a lazy elegance attached to him,” Karthik told Sky Sports.

“If you bowl anything slightly short, forget it, go and pick it up from the stands.”

India top the points table after a hat-trick of wins and they face Bangladesh in their next match on Thursday in Pune.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Ahmedabad; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)