Gautam Gambhir believes Rohit Sharma wouldn't have been where he is today in his career if not for the constant backing of former India captain MS Dhoni. Rohit's numbers didn't do justice to his prodigious talent at the start of his career but Dhoni stood with him, kept him in the mix and promoted him to open ahead of the 2013 Champions Trophy in a career-changing move.
"Where Rohit Sharma is today, it is because of MS Dhoni," Gambhir, the former opener, told Sports Tak. "You can talk about the selection committee and team management, but if you do not have the backing from your captain than it is all useless. Everything is in the hands of the captain. How MS Dhoni had backed Rohit Sharma over a period of time, I do not think any player has been given such support."
Gambhir thinks the way Dhoni backed Rohit is something current skipper Virat Kohli should learn from. "I hope the young cricketers in the current generation today, be it Shubman Gill (or) Sanju Samson, they also get similar kind of support," he said, also putting the onus on Rohit to do his bit in this regard as vice-captain in the limited-overs set-up.
"Now when Rohit is a senior, I expect him to give backing to youngsters. Rohit is a prime example of how a player can become a phenomenal cricketer, if he has good backing."
"One good thing about MS was that he always kept Rohit in the talks, even if was not part of the team, he was always part of the group. He never let him get sidelined," Gambhir added.
"I expect Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to groom the youngsters in the same way in which MS Dhoni groomed them."
On April 30, when Rohit turned 33, Gambhir regarded him as the "best white-ball cricketer in the world", which re-triggered talks of comparisons with Kohli over social media.
"I think he is the best white-ball cricketer in the world right now. He is not the greatest overall but at the moment he is the best. He is the only player to have hit 3 ODI double hundreds, 5 World Cup hundreds and he is also the only player, who once gets past 100-run mark, people say that he missed a double century," said the 38-year-old, reiterating his stance.
"He had hit 5 World Cup hundred in England. People cannot do that in their entire careers. 3 ODI double hundreds, players do not have 3 double hundreds in Tests. There are many who could score runs, but for me white-ball cricket is all about impact."
"Virat Kohli will end up getting many more runs than Rohit Sharma, and Kohli is among the greatest right now, but Rohit has an edge over Kohli because of the impact he has," believes Gambhir.
"It is very difficult to compare both of them. Virat Kohli is unbelievable. His stats prove that. But when your reputation is such that when you get out after a hundred, people say he has missed out on double hundred, that speaks volumes about you."
(Inputs from India Today)