Rohit Sharma became the fifth Indian opener to score 500 runs in a series. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Rohit Sharma was making a comeback to the Indian Test team after a stop-start Test career. After being dismissed for 0 in the Board President XI's game against South Africa in Vizianagaram, there was concern that Rohit might not perform as an opener in the three-Test series against South Africa. However, Rohit put up a fabulous display that silenced the detractors. The Mumbai batsman smashed a century in each innings in the Vizag Test, making him the sixth Indian player to achieve this feat. Despite a failure in Pune, Rohit responded with his maiden double ton in Ranchi. His 529 runs in the series made him the fifth Indian opener to smash over 500 runs in a series.
Speaking after receiving both the Man of the Match and the Man of the Series Awards, Rohit said he wanted to capitalise on this opportunity. "It's been a great start, so I don't want to let it go. That started long back in 2013, when I started opening for India in white ball cricket. I realised you need to have discipline at the start of the innings. Once you are in, you can play your game. That's what I have done, I follow a certain template that allows me to have some success," Rohit said.
Rohit added that he needed to maintain discipline and that support from the team management and the skipper played a vital part in his confidence. "You need support from the management, coach, captain, that has helped a lot. Test cricket is a different ball game, getting that big score will give me confidence moving forward. I was trying to be mindful about that. You need to be disciplined, I kept talking to myself," Rohit said.
In the series, Rohit gave the Indian top order a feeling of intimindation with his clever batting and aggressive hitting. In Vizag, he hit 13 sixes which was a record for the most sixes hit in a Test. In Ranchi, he went past 50 sixes in just his 30th Test and Rohit said countering the new ball and then opening up was the key to scoring big hundreds.
"Considering how the series has gone by, I can take a lot of positives, especially how to counter that new ball. The new ball will be a threat anywhere in the world," Rohit said. With an average of 99.84 at home after 12 Tests, Rohit is now greater than Sir Don Bradman but tougher challenges await him outside India.