Rohit Sharma has gone past 500 runs in the series against South Africa, making him the fifth Indian opener to achieve the feat. (Photo Credit: PTI)
When Rohit Sharma was selected as an opener in the Test series against South Africa, there was initially some skepticism. Rohit had been dismissed for 0 in the Board President XI's warm-up game in Vizianagaram. In Tests, Rohit had not yet shown his mettle like he has done it in ODIs and T20Is. However, in this series, he has not disappointed the fans. In Vizag, he became the sixth Indian player to hit a century in both innings while in Ranchi, he blasted his maiden double ton and shared a 267-run stand with Ajinkya Rahane, who hit his 11th century.
Speaking after the end of the day's play, Rohit hilariously took a dig at the media when asked about how they could have reacted had he not capitalised on his opportunities. "Kafi kuch hone wala thaa naahin toh kaafi kuch aap likh dete mere barein mein (A lot could have happened had I not performed and you guys (media) would have written a lot about me. So it was about making most of the opportunities I got. I knew I had to make full use of it, otherwise media would have written against me. Now I know everyone will write good things about me," Rohit said.
In the process of his knock, Rohit went past 500 runs and he became the fifth Indian opener to reach the milestone. His double century came after India were left reeling at 39/3 in the first morning as he along with Ajinkya Rahane (115) staged a remarkable turnaround with a mammoth 267-run fourth wickekt partnership, the highest versus South Africa. Rohit said this knock was very challenging.
"In Tests, it has it's challenges. Having played only three Tests as an opener, I know I have long way to go. I am not reading too much into these three Tests. Of course, I will take a lot of positives but I am not reading too much into it. Opening the batting is a different challenge to batting at Nos 6-7. It's just about how you prepare yourself, what you talk to yourself in your mind about what do you want to go out there and achieve. Playing the first ball of the match, compared to facing a delivery after 30-40 overs is a different ball game altogether. There's nothing in particular that I've done in terms of technique," Rohit said.
With success in the Tests against South Africa, Rohit is looking ahead to overseas success and he is aiming to replicate his luck in the series against New Zealand which begins towards the fag end of January 2020.
"Wherever you play the new ball, you have to have some understanding of the basics of the game. Which ball you have to play and leave. In certain aspects of the game you have to be mindful of. I was allowing myself to take time rather than going after the ball straightway. It's not a good idea with a new ball. You got to play with a little lower backlift. In overseas, of course, it's a different ball game. That's a challenge and I am awaiting," Rohit said.