'Comebacks are not at all easy. After a major surgery, the difficult part is to conquer the inner demons. It's all in the mind.'
Languid strokeplay might make his batting look easy but Indian batsman Rohit Sharma says making an international comeback after a six-month injury-forced layoff is easier said than done.
Rohit was out of competitive cricket for six months from October to April after a major hamstring injury.
But since his comeback in ODIs during the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this year, he has scored three hundreds in 10 games apart from a few half-centuries.
"Comebacks are not at all easy. After a major surgery, the difficult part is to conquer the inner demons. It's all in the mind. Only an individual can overcome his fears. My batting may look easy to the eye but trust me, it's not that easy," Rohit said on Thursday.
Asked whether he had any fears while stretching for a quick run or while coming down the track to a spinner, if he might get injured again, Rohit laughed and replied: "The best part that happened to me was IPL started just after I completed my rehab.
"So while captaining Mumbai Indians and taking those on-field decisions, I couldn't think about what happens if I get injured."
"And when I was playing for India, my mind became blank while batting. There was no place for any negativity," said the 30-year-old, who has 5737 runs from 163 ODIs, with 13 hundreds to his credit.
The Mumbai's right-handers supple wrists and sublime strokeplay may be a delight for fans but there is a lot of homework involved.
He explained how he successfully read mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya after his six-wicket haul in the second ODI against Sri Lanka during the recent away series.
"The half century was special but I didn't face Dananjaya much during that match. I was out only one over after he was brought into the attack. But in the next two games, I got hundreds and I had no problems playing him."
So what did he do differently?
"I realised that the speed of his googly was on the slower side while leg-breaks were faster. His off-break was easily negotiable. One thing we must know about these mystery spinners -- they are bound to bowl loose deliveries and Dananjaya is no different."
Rohit is expected to play a vital role in the upcoming limited overs series against Australia but the Indian vice-captain believes in preparing for "conditions rather than opposition".
"To each his own but my process of preparation is based on conditions not opposition. It won't be any different when we face Australia," Rohit said.
"In international cricket, the core group in most of the teams would remain same. So you know what's expected but they will operate in different conditions which is why the homework about conditions is the key. You need to know the shots you can play on particular pitches, how you want to plan your innings," Rohit elaborated.
Asked if Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood's absence would affect Australia's chances in the upcoming limited-overs series, the stylish batsman replied: "Of course, Starc is a quality bowler and his presence makes a difference but most of the Aussie boys have played IPL and are familiar with Indian conditions.
"They are a quality side and we can't take them lightly," he added.
His captain Virat Kohli often reckons that Rohit is the hardest hitter of the cricket ball in the Indian team but Rohit stated he never aims to hit the ball the furthest.
"It's nothing like that. I know one thing. If your shot crosses the ropes, you get six runs -- whether the ball travels 75m or 110 metres. So it's not always about power but about timing, body balance and position."
Rohit revealed he is enjoying the new responsibility of the vice-captain of the limited overs team.
"It's an honour. My job is to help Virat in the field. He is the captain and whenever he looks up around, I should be around to complement him and help him as much as I could," he stated.