'Stopped thinking about Tests'
The cricketer slammed centuries in both the innings on his "debut" as Test opener and gave India the kind of momentum they were desperately looking for after Virender Sehwag's exit from the scene.
The cricketer, in an interview with PTI, said he had stopped thinking about all these things which helped him do well. He said, "Honestly speaking, I stopped thinking about Test matches a long time back.
"Earlier, I was thinking too much about success in Tests. I would go overboard as to why is this happening, why am I playing that shot. After each Test innings, I would go to our video analyst, sit, watch and then confuse (clutter) my brain further. That wasn't actually the right thing that I was doing," he recalled.
Rohit, who is one of India's greatest white-ball players, further said, "Thinking too much about technique was not allowing me to enjoy the game. All that was there in my mind was 'Oh I need to do well in Test cricket'. So, before 2018-19 Australia series, I told myself 'Boss whatever has to happen will happen and I am not going to think about technique'.
"At the end of the day, I want to go out there, share a laugh with my mates and enjoy," he revealed.
'Can't allow negative thoughts to creep in'
Many thought that the South Africa series was his last shot at redemption as a Test cricketer but not the man himself. "If you talk about opening in the SA series, from people's perspective, it was my last chance but I am a sportsman and I can't think like that. If I thought it was my last chance then I wouldn't have scored runs with that mindset.
"You can't allow negative thoughts to creep in when you are playing such a high profile sport," he said.
But at the same time, he is realistic enough to admit that he had to grab the opportunity that came his way. "I know that I am no longer 22 or 23 years old that I will keep getting opportunities in Test matches and can take my place for granted. I know that every time I go out there, I have to put a high price tag on my wicket. I am blessed to get an opportunity that many are waiting for. So, why should I regret worry or think about so many things?"
'Shut the noise down'
The senior-pro said for him, the success in recent years is because of a shield that he has been able to build around himself to "shut the noise down".
"When you play sport, there is a lot of distraction and noise around you. You need to create an environment around yourself so that none of this bothers you. No idea, vision or sermons will come inside that shield unless you allow it. Let people say good things, bad things, one shouldn't be bothered about it."
Rohit's golden advice to Rishabh Pant
Rohit empathises with young Rishabh Pant, who is also under tremendous pressure to perform these days and gets hounded by the critics for inconsistency.
"In fact, I was telling Pant the same thing. Poor guy is only 21 (22) and people are telling him to score hundreds in every game, do this and do that. I mean cut some slack man. I told Rishabh 'Create a wall and ensure that nobody comes inside. It's your safe-house. People want to talk about you, let them do it outside that wall and you do what you intend to do inside your zone'.
"Who knows it might help Rishabh. It worked for me at least," he said.
Rohit is in a "great space"
Rohit Sharma is in a "great space" in his life and credits his wife Ritika Sajdeh and daughter Samaira for the same.
"I am a different Rohit in terms of how I think. I am in such a great space in my life because of the family that I have -- my wife (Ritika) and daughter (Samaira). I am not worried about what others are talking," Rohit said looking back at the 12 eventful years of his career in international cricket.
For someone, who has received bouquets and brickbats in equal measure, the 32-year-old is no longer bothered by criticism.
"They (wife and daughter) fill me with love and happiness and I try to stay within that rather than thinking about X, Y or Z making comments about me," he said.
"I have actually passed that age to react to someone talking good or bad things about me. Frankly speaking, it doesn't matter anymore."
'Don't drag our families'
After the ICC World Cup, there were stories about senior players extending their families' stay beyond the designated number of days and Rohit said he felt hurt at families being dragged into it.
"Our families are there to support us, make us feel happy. When all these things were being written about, few of my friends came and told me and believe me or not, I was just laughing.
"But then it went on and on and they dragged my family and that was not on. You talk about me but don't drag my family as they genuinely don't care about anything else. I think even Virat (Kohli) must have felt the same way as families are an important aspect of our lives."