It was a dream debut for Rohit Sharma. The 26-year-old Mumbaikar powered to a splendid unbeaten century at the Eden Gardens against the West Indies on the second day of the first Test to put India on top.
“I am very happy to score on debut. A Test hundred is special,” he said. Rohit, who was presented the India cap by Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday, replaced the legend at the crease with India tottering at 82 for four. A run later, Rohit saw Virat Kohli too departing. The situation the team was in then would have made any debutant very nervous. Having the experience of playing domestic cricket since 2006 and having made 108 appearances for the country in ODIs, Rohit was ready for the challenge. First with skipper M.S. Dhoni he added 73 runs and later with R. Ashwin he put on 198 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket.
Among the scores of cricketers who watched Rohit unfold the innings of class, former Test opener Pranab Roy was one. “It was so pleasing to watch him play today. His balance and timing were outstanding. The pitch was a difficult one. But he made it so easy. He has really matured into a fine player,” he said.
There was never any doubt about his talent and skill. Rohit has been consistent in first class matches averaging 60.78, which is quite high. His ODI average has not been up to the mark. But the best thing to happen to him was the 209 he scored against Australia to win the series a few days ago. That transformed him.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly too was all praise for Rohit. “His selection to the Indian team was a wonderful one. A player has to be given a chance when he is in form,” he said. Rohit became the 14th Indian to make a century on Test debut.
The highlight of his knock was the way he adjusted to the pitch. “The wicket was really slow. Once the ball got older, it was not coming on. You got to hold back strokes and play late. Playing on the rise was not an ideal option on this wicket,” Rohit said.
“There was a time three years ago when nothing was going right. Being a sportsman, there is a lot of inspiration to take from so many sportspersons from around the world. I knew once I get an opportunity, I would try and make the most of it. I just waited… kept working on my game. Today I am really happy with what has happened,” said Rohit.
The best thing for India is both Rohit and Ashwin are at the crease and looking good to take India to a position of greater strength.