Rohit Sharma, the man of the moment for Team India with his stunning century at The Oval, has looked back at the time that changed his fortunes in Test cricket forever. Sharma said when the opportunity to open the innings for the first time in red-ball cricket presented itself in 2019, he knew it was his “last chance” at leaving his mark in the format and that he had to grab it at any cost.
Rohit Sharma scored his first overseas hundred – a potentially match-winning 256-ball 127 – on Saturday. The knock, studded with 14 fours and a six, was the culmination of a two-year journey which started in Vizag, where he played his first Test as an opener and scored 176 and 127 in two innings against South Africa.
Speaking at a press-conference after Day 3’s play at The Oval, Rohit Sharma said the offer had not come as a surprise to him. He also acknowledged that if he had not taken it, “anything could have happened”.
“In the back of my mind I knew it was the last chance for me as well, trying another position in the batting order. When the offer came to open the batting, I was very much aware of it because the talks were happening within the management about me opening at some stage. So… mentally, I was ready to take on that challenge, to see if I could do well up the order. I know I batted in the middle order before and things didn’t turn out the way I wanted to but I knew this was going to be my last opportunity, you know, trying whatever the management is thinking. When you are playing a sport you always have to take those chances, those risks… Yeah, you can say that it was my last opportunity, if I hadn’t succeeded, anything could have happened,” said Rohit Sharma.
Although he was (and is) an undisputed star of limited-overs cricket at the time, Rohit Sharma wasn’t seen as a Test success before the match against South Africa. His average in the middle order wasn’t good and the No. 6 spot, where he did well, was neither always available nor gave him a chance to justify his talent.
However, Rohit Sharma has made that “last chance” count. Since he started opening, he has played 27 innings, scoring over 1400 runs at a magnificent average of 58.48. The rewards of his efforts were visible in Australia and are now on show in England.
“It was never in my mind” – Rohit Sharma on scoring first overseas hundred
Coming to Saturday’s knock, Rohit Sharma said the thought of a possible first overseas hundred never crossed his mind. He said he was only focussed on putting in the hard yards and trusting his processes all this while.
“See, getting an hundred, whether it’s overseas or your home, it’s always a good feeling. That’s what all batters try for, getting those big runs and making sure you always put your team in a good position. Speaking of overseas hundreds, it was never in my mind. What I was focussing on was following the process… At times, you have to be patient and I think I have done that. I was trusting whatever I was doing all this while, and I was happy doing those things. Sometimes things might not come easy, you have to put those hard yards in, and I was happy to do that.”
Rohit Sharma concluded by saying that it’s now important for Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja to take the baton and better India’s advantage in the Test.
“I am pretty happy today the way things turned out, not just for me, but for the whole group. We are in a good position but we do understand that the game is not over until it’s over. We need to put in the same sort of effort early tomorrow morning that we did today. Hopefully the guys can put their heads down and get the game towards us,” Rohit Sharma signed-off.
India ended the day with the score at 270-3, with Kohli and Jadeja batting on 22 and 9 respectively.
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