Indian batting great VVS Laxman says the ability to remain calm under pressure is the reason behind Rohit Sharma's success as a captain in the Indian Premier League.
The 33-year-old led Mumbai Indians to four title wins, one ahead of Chennai Super Kings' Mahendra Singh Dhoni, making him currently the most successful skipper in the history of IPL.
The 45-year-old Laxman recalled how Rohit evolved both as a batsman and skipper since playing his first IPL with Deccan Chargers.
"He became a leader in the Deccan Chargers team. When he came in the first year, he was a youngster who just played the T20 World Cup, made his international debut for India," Laxman told Star Sports show 'Cricket Connected'.
"I think the way he was batting in the middle order, under pressure because the team didn't do well in the inaugural IPL edition in 2008 ... Rohit was a standout performer for us."
Rohit is placed third in the list of most run-getters in IPL history, having scored 4898 runs in 188 matches at an average of 31.60 with a highest score of 109 not out.
"In each and every match, with each and every success, his confidence level was just growing, he was getting into the core group, helping the youngsters, voicing his opinion and those were early signs," Laxman said.
"But for me, most importantly was handling the pressure because not once in those tough situations when he was batting did it show, and he has evolved and blossomed. That's why he's one of the most successful captains in IPL history."
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Rishabh Pant and his men have won five of their seven matches and are sitting second on the points table behind league leaders Chennai Super Kings.
Among the many wishes, Mumbai Indians shared a post on their official Twitter handle. They tweeted, “Setting the stage on fire whenever and wherever he walks in —the name is Ro-HIT Sharma. Happy Birthday, Captain”.
The English World Cup winner says his team has improved gradually, but should now focus on managing the middle part of the innings better, in both departments.