Before heading off to the tour of South Africa, India’s ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma Sharma was in exceptional form. Besides his stellar show in the limited-overs cricket in the last calendar year, the elegant right-hander has proved his mettle in Tests as well.
During the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka at home in November, Sharma had aggregated 217 runs in 3 innings at an incredible average of 217 with 1 ton and 2 fifties as India sealed the series 1-nil. Moreover, Rohit had piled up 1293 ODI runs at an average of 71.83 with 6 tons and 5 fifties including a record-extending third double century in the 50-over format in 2017.
Considering Rohit’s batting prowess last season, the 30-year-old was preferred over Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the playing XI against South Africa in the first two Tests. Sharma though couldn’t quite prove his worth against the fiery Proteas pace attack as he managed to aggregate only 78 runs in 4 innings at a miserable average of 19.50.
After his failure in Cape Town and Centurion Tests, there were plenty of expectations from Rohit to regain his form in the format wherein he boasts a world record 3 double tons. However, the story remained pretty much the same in the first four ODIs despite India’s unassailable 3-1 in the series.
While Rohit perished for 20 and 15 runs in the first two ODIs at Durban and Centurion, he didn’t manage to cross the double-digit mark in the next two encounters at Cape Town (0 off 6 balls) and Johannesburg (5 off 13 balls). Sharma though was determined to change things around in the fifth ODI at Port Elizabeth and he did so by notching up his 17th ODI ton which resulted in a 73-run victory for the visitors.
Addressing the media after the match, Rohit said, “I got out in three (four) matches only brother, how can you say form is bad after three (four) matches? You guys put people in good form after one match, and if somebody doesn’t have three good matches, you say he is in bad form.”
“I admit the first three matches weren’t great but that happens with everybody. But I was in a good frame of mind, I was batting well in the nets and there was no pattern to my dismissals. That happens in every cricketer’s career,” he added.
Rohit, who was declared Man-of-the-Match for his 115-run off 126 balls, further went on to say that 2-3 bad innings do not make someone a bad player.
“Because you have achieved so much, scored so many runs, 2-3 bad innings doesn’t change that. Because every day is a new day and what you have done in the past. It is the same thing I am thinking right now. My hundred has gone now and the next game I play, the hundred I scored isn’t going to matter much,” he elaborated.
When asked about his modest celebration after notching up the ton, Rohit said he was not in the mood to celebrate his century because of the two run-outs.
“Celebration… yaar (friend) two guys got run out before me earlier so there was nothing to celebrate about. I was not in mood to celebrate. But I knew that if we could get 270-280 it will be difficult for them because we knew the wicket is very slow and anything could happen as our wrist spinners are bowling very well and they have troubled their batsmen a lot. So we knew that 270-280 was a good chance to win,” Sharma concluded.
India will play South Africa in the sixth ODI at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Friday (February 16).