Mumbai, August 28: Rohit Sharma's childhood coach Dinesh Lad expects nothing less than a World Cup-winning performance from his protege in the 2023 edition at home following his stellar show in the 50-over showpiece event last year, when he smashed five hundreds but India lost in the semifinals.
Rohit was recently announced as one of the winners of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honour.
"Getting the Khel Ratna is a great achievement. I should not say this but if a poor boy has talent and he justifies it and has luck, then that boy can reach the sky and a living example of it is Rohit Sharma.
"All that he has earned due to his hard work and talent. My expectation is that the forthcoming 50-over World Cup, Rohit should win it for India on his own ability," Lad, a popular cricket coach in Mumbai circles, said on Marathi cricket chat show "Coffee Cricket Ani Barech Kahi".
Lad also shared an anecdote on how he first spotted Rohit.
"There was one camp organised in Borivali, and there were some matches organised. I had put my school's team and Rohit's team came into the final and it was a 10 over game on a cement wicket, we won that game.
"That time our school was new and I used to search for kids, the way Rohit bowled, I was impressed and thought that we should take this kid to our school," recalled Lad.
According to Lad, Rohit's uncle was unable to afford the school's fees and it was on his insistence that the now India's limited-overs vice-captain was given free admission into the school.
"I asked the (school) director to waive off his fees and Rohit was the first kid for whom I did that, at that time I didn't think that he would play for India. They admitted him. If at that time, this granted freeship wouldn't have happened, you couldn't have seen Rohit Sharma," Lad recalled.