Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith feels the "mental strain" of leading the Indian team across formats may be taking a toll on Rohit Sharma in the ongoing IPL.
Rohit's Mumbai Indians, who have won the IPL a record five times, are yet to open their account in the 15th edition of the lucrative league, having lost all their four matches so far.
This after the swashbuckling opener has led India to white-ball series victories against the West Indies and Sri Lanka followed by a Test series at home against the islanders.
"This is the first tournament he is captaining MI since becoming India's white-ball captain. Does that mental strain take a toll in the IPL? It's something to consider," Smith was quoted as saying by 'Cricket.com'.
Rohit was appointed India's full-time Test captain in February with his first assignment being the series against Sri Lanka in March.
For his franchise this season, Rohit has not been at his best with the bat and Smith, one of South Africa's finest captains, wondered if it has to do with him leading the country across formats.
"Rohit is the energy at the top of the order. Gets them off to a start, sets up the game that allows everyone else to play. When he is scoring runs MI are going to win a lot of the time."
Besides enduring four straight losses as the team's skipper, the opener has managed to score just 80 runs at an average of 20.
Smith said Rohit regaining his touch with the willow makes things easier for MI.
"He's just such a key player. If you look at the line-up, Rohit, an outstanding player, hasn't found form.
"You've got Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav injured for a couple of games. He has now come in and is looking good and then Pollard as the power finisher. You've got (Dewald) Brevis there but he's a young man. That's a very strong batting line-up."
Ahead of the multiple-time IPL winners' match against Punjab Kings, Smith called for left-arm spin bowling West Indies all-rounder Fabian Allen's inclusion in the playing XI.
"I've got for Tymal Mills to try and show some support to Bumrah. I've gone for Fabian Allen as well," Smith said, citing the presence of many right-handers in the Punjab Kings line-up.
"My reason for that Punjab have a largely right-handed batting line-up and I like the fact he can spin the ball away from them and that will provide Rohit Sharma with another useful option and lengthens the batting line-up slightly," Smith reasoned.