Sunday, September 27, 2020
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A reward for my long wait: Rohit Sharma

Kolkata: Rohit Sharma is in scintillating form. Five days after hitting a double century in one-day cricket against Australia, Sharma cracked an unbeaten ton on his Test debut against West Indies at the Eden Gardens.

Speaking after his unbeaten knock of 127 that lifted India out of trouble and on to 354 for six, a lead of 120 over the tourists, Sharma said: “A Test match hundred is always special and a debut hundred makes me very happy because I’d been waiting for an opportunity for a long time.

“When I got this opportunity, my thinking was that I should do well, not that I had to make a century on debut. I wanted to bat well and not think about anything else. My focus was on batting. I was in a good form in the one-day series, and I wanted to continue that form.”

Sharma had come close to getting a Test cap three years ago, but that never materialised.

When asked if he felt it was the right time for him to have got it, Sharma said: “I really don’t know. Whenever it happens, you’ve got to be proud; you’ve got to take that opportunity. I was really disappointed with what happened in 2010 but now I just wanted to focus on what was happening at the moment. So my focus was on this Test match, and I was really happy, whether it came after three years, it doesn’t matter. Finally, it came.”

In response to a question whether his double century against Australia or his Test debut ton was more satisfying, Sharma said: “Frankly I cannot really say. That 200 was really special. And this is even more special because it’s a Test hundred on debut. See, anywhere you get a hundred, it’s very special. And on top of that, if your team wins, that’s like the icing on the cake.

“We’ve got to wait another three days to see what happens in the game. Both these innings are very dear to me. With that innings in [Bengaluru], we won the series, and here let’s hope that we can get into a good position tomorrow, and then I’d be happier. [Ravichandran] Ashwin and I want to get as many runs as possible so that we have a good enough lead.”

Sharma added that he has a special attachment to Eden Gardens, the venue for the Test. “This is where I made my first-class debut for Mumbai. We won the IPL final here, and also this was the place where I was given the Mumbai Indians captaincy for the first time. So this place is really special to me. I really love playing here, I’ve got a decent amount of runs here playing for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. Hopefully it will turn out even better tomorrow,” he said.

Sharma feels it is not yet time to savour the taste of his century. “I’m really happy over this magnificent day today. But it’s not yet done; we’ve got a game on our hands. So we just need to be focused. Tomorrow could be another crucial day. If we can bat until about lunch, maybe a few more overs after lunch, we can get a good lead and try and put them under pressure.”

Sharma went on to reveal how he and his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had planned to pull India out of trouble. “They [the West Indies] were bowling quite well when we lost five early wickets. We wanted to build partnerships then but they were bowling very well, so we just thought we’ve got to respect these bowlers who were bowling in tandem. The five to ten overs of Shane Shillingford and the bowler at the other end were very important, so we just thought that we just needed to stick there once we get in so that we could capitalise later when the bowlers got tired. That’s exactly what happened at the end of the day.”