The thought of standing up to Brett Lee’s thunderbolts had taken Rohit Sharma’s “sleep away” when he first started out but among the current lot, Josh Hazlewood is one speedster the India swashbuckler “doesn’t want to face” in Tests.
Rohit said he will have to be mentally prepared to face Hazlewood when India tour Australia for a Test series later this year, provided the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Asked to name the toughest pacers he has faced so far, Rohit said, “One bowler is Brett Lee because he didn’t let me sleep the previous night on my first tour to Australia in 2007, as I was thinking how to play this bowler who bowls in excess of 150 kmph.”
“In 2007, Brett Lee was at his peak. I used to watch him closely and noticed that he was consistently bowling at the speed of around 150-155 kmph. The thought of a youngster like me facing that kind of speed took away my sleep,” Rohit said of the former Australian speedster on Star Sports’ ‘Cricket Connected’.
Since making his debut in 2007 as a precocious talent, Rohit has gone on to become one of the world’s most prolific batsmen, and his exploits in limited overs cricket are second to none. Rohit has racked up 29 ODI hundreds and six centuries in Test cricket, besides four three-figure mark in the T20 Internationals.
“Currently, someone whom I don’t want to face in Test cricket would be Josh Hazlewood because he’s disciplined and does not move away from that length. He does not give you loose balls,” he said. Among the retired lot, Rohit said South African pace great Dale Steyn has also given him nightmares because of his ability to swing the ball at great speed.
“I have two retired favourite bowlers who I never wanted to face, one was Brett Lee and the other was Dale Steyn. I never wanted to face Steyn because playing pace and swing at the same time was a nightmare, it was just unreal.” Rohit said he continues to face quality bowlers in the present day with Hazlewood being among the best .
“I have watched him enough to understand that. I know for a fact that if I have to go to Australia to play a Test, then I have to be mentally prepared to be disciplined while facing Josh,” said the scorer of three double hundreds in ODIs. — PTI