"There will always be regrets in life but I am glad that I am back on my feet playing cricket again," Rohit Sharma said when asked if 22 Test matches in an international career spanning 10 years does justice to the talent that he possesses. Playing his first Test in more than a year after recovering from a career-threatening injury, Rohit scored his third hundred first ton in the longest version in more than four years.
"There will always be regrets in your life. Even if you score 10,000 runs, you will feel, 'oh, I should have scored 15,000 runs' or people will tell you, 'you should have scored 15,000 runs, man!" he said.
"But for me, I am glad that I am back on my feet because when I went through that injury (thigh surgery in 2016), at one point I was thinking whether I will be able to walk or not.
"I'm lucky that I am on my feet, playing and scoring some runs, so yes, I'm happy," Rohit said after India defeated Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 in the second Test in Nagpur.
Currently India's second best player in ODIs after skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit said he wants to live in the present and let bygones be bygones.
"I am not someone who will think about what has happened in the past. I like to see what is in front of me, and yes, that is how I look at it. When I was inexperienced having just come into the team, there were a lot of things that I used to think about, but not anymore. I have passed that age where I shouldn't be thinking what happened in the past," the stylish right-hander was at his pragmatic best.
"I should be ready for what is ahead of me and that's what matters. What has happened in the past is gone you can never change it. For me, I can change things looking forward, and looking forward is Delhi Test match and thereafter one-day series and then the South Africa series," he said.
There was a point of time in his career when the obsession with doing well in Test cricket made him "over-complicate" things and lose focus on his primary goal enjoying the game he loved.
"My plans are simple and clear. I don't want to complicate things which I have in the past, when had I just come into the team, At the end of the day, it's just a cricket match that you have to play," Rohit said.
"Initially, my focus was much on Test cricket, like 'Oh no this is Test cricket and I have to do well. I have to do this and that. In thinking that I lost a lot of focus and forgot (lost) what I was there for and what I needed to do and pretty clear in mind which is the most important thing."
Mumbai school of batsmanship has been more about grit and grinding it out and the word 'khadoos' (uptight) is synonymous with the city's cricket.
Rohit's batting has been more about elegance and sinewy wrists where the ball is not bludgeoned but caressed to the boundary but the Mumbaikar agrees that Mumbai cricket does make one tough.
"Of course, coming from Mumbai, I have learnt the hardship of scoring runs and making every opportunity count. In Mumbai, you get few opportunities and if you slip, you might not get an opportunity for god knows how many years or how many months," he said.
"So every time you get an opportunity, you try and make it count. That's what I've learnt playing for Mumbai and growing up as a kid and getting into that Ranji Trophy dressing room."
The VCA Stadium in Nagpur invokes a sense of dejavu in Rohit, who was supposed to make his Test debut back in 2010 but a freak ankle injury during a game of football saw Wriddhiman Saha playing his maiden Test as a batsman.
"Personally for me, it was very important as I was playing Test cricket after nearly 500 days. I have been waiting for this opportunity and I am glad that I could put some runs on the board for myself and team.
"Really happy, that it was worth waiting for so long. I clearly remember this was the ground where I got injured and I had to wait 3 years to make my test debut. This ground has now given me something now to go back," Rohit concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)