New Delhi, Mar 2: It has been a painful four months for Rohit Sharma having undergone a hamstring surgery but the talented batsman is not losing his sleep over fighting out for a middle-order slot with Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair.
"In my career so far, I have never thought about who is my competition. You can't improve as a player if your thought process is channelised in those lines. My competition is with myself. I don't waste my time concentrating on things which aren't in my control. But I don't want to miss a single match that India plays," Rohit told PTI in an exclusive interview.
The time out of action wasn't easy but he has been through this situation earlier also. "I have that mental toughness to deal with situations but whenever there is a surgery, there are some initial fears.
"But once I was done with it, my doctors in the UK told me that with a proper rehabilitation programme, I would be fit to play within three and a half to four months. But it is tough when you can't do what you love the most."
Rohit is set to play for Mumbai against Andhra and Goa on March 4 and 6 in Chennai in group league of Vijay Hazare Trophy games with an aim to check his match fitness.
"I would love to be a part of current Test series. But then I will also have to take a step at a time. These two games will test my real time match fitness. Accordingly, I will have to inform the trainer and physio at the NCA as to how I have felt.
"I am feeling 100 percent fit but you would always like to hit a few deliveries and take it from there on," said Rohit, who had scores of 68 not out, 82 and 51 not out in his last three Test appearances.
It's not easy for an international player when the national team is playing red ball cricket and white ball season is underway in domestic cricket.
It's intriguing but Rohit practiced on alternate days with the red ball and white ball during his net sessions at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
"Yes, it's not the easiest of things but I had to balance my training session. So it used to be alternate sessions of red ball and white ball practice. Both behave differently and it is an everyday adjustment," Rohit said.
"After an intense rehabilitation period, you need your muscle memory to react like it would do at normal times.
"I had to practice red ball as Test series is on and white ball because that's where I make a comeback in Vijay Hazare Trophy."
The talented right-hander also informed that he will not be captaining the Mumbai side but is expected to open the batting as it has been his slot in the Indian team also.
"Yes, I will be opening the batting but I won't be captaining the side. Aditya (Tare) has done a fabulous job as the captain throughout the season.
"Also I am coming back to play for Mumbai after a long gap. So it's also not fair on my part to lead the side.
"Mumbai need to win both the matches and that's what my endeavour is at the moment. Score well and win matches for Mumbai."
Rohit also shared his post-rehab training routine once he was allowed to start with batting by the physio.
"Any player, who has undergone a knee surgery or hamstring surgery would tell you how difficult the initial days are. You need to start with bowling machines as you don't want unpredictability.
"First you practice forward and backward defensive shots, follow it up with drives and then get into the horizontal bat shots like cut and pull.
"You need to practice each shot hundreds of times in front of the bowling machine. Then you train in the nets against proper bowlers now that your muscles are reacting well.
"The road to recovery is not always easy as it tests your patience as well as mental fortitude," he concluded.