You can write good things about me now: Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma said he was looking forward to challenges in conditions abroad. AFP

As talks of Rohit Sharma getting his chance to open in the three-match Test series against South Africa gained momentum last month, Australian great Adam Gilchrist had made an interesting statement on the Indian batsman. “Rohit will succeed in Tests only if he wants to,” the former wicketkeeper-batsman had said. Gilchrist indirectly questioned Rohit’s hunger to succeed in the longer format.

By being the story of the series with his remarkable performance, Rohit has proven he wants to belong in red-ball cricket. The gifted batsman’s double century here in the third Test at the JSCA International Stadium Complex holds more value than his brilliant twin hundreds in the first Test in Visakhapatnam.   

Surviving the tough period, when South African pacers had a small window of help, wasn’t the only impressive aspect of Rohit’s 212-run knock. The 32-year-old wasn’t satisfied after completing his ton. He rightly chose his risky shots and didn’t refrain from being positive, showcasing how much his innings meant for him.

“To bat as an opener was a good opportunity so I had to use it fully. Otherwise, a lot of things were bound to happen,” said Rohit, with a cheeky smile, at the press conference. “I knew you guys would write a lot about me (in case of failure) but now you can write good things about me,” he said with a laugh.   

With 529 runs from three games, Rohit is the top run-getter of the series. As encouraging as the statistics appear, Rohit is aware of the challenges of being a Test opener, especially in foreign conditions. “I have just had three Tests as an opener so I am not reading too much into this series. Of course I will take the positives. When you go outside, it’s a different ball game and that’s a challenge I am waiting for,” said Rohit.

It appears that Rohit has matured, not just in his words but even while batting against the red ball. The focus has been to understand the format better, revealed Rohit. “The new ball does something irrespective of where you are playing. It can be in Pune or in Australia. So when you play the new ball, a good understanding of the basics is important. Like which ball to play and which one to leave, you need to mindful of that. In this series, I allowed myself to take time rather than going after the bowler straight away. In India, you also have to play with a lower bat lift. So these are some of the changes that I have incorporated in my batting,” he explained.  

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