Cricket

Mentally I was ready to open: Rohit

Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the first test match between India and South Africa at the ACA-VDCA stadium in Visakhapatnam on October 2, 2019.

Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the first test match between India and South Africa at the ACA-VDCA stadium in Visakhapatnam on October 2, 2019.   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

South African debutant Muthusamy says that one needs to compete every ball.

Rohit Sharma revealed he had been “prepared” for the last two years to open in a Test for India.

He said after his unbeaten hundred — his fourth in Tests and first as an opener — here on Wednesday, “The talk was on for a long time about me opening the innings. In the West Indies they told me clearly that it’s going to happen now. So mentally I was ready for it.”

The graceful right-hander observed, “Opening the batting in red-ball cricket is a different ball game compared to limited overs. You have to train your mind more than anything else. Technically, yes, you have got to look into it, certain aspects of batting. I was clear what I wanted to do. There was no confusion in my mind.”

Huge opportunity

Opening the innings in Tests was a huge opportunity for him, said Rohit. “When you are playing international cricket, you always look for opportunities. Yes, there will be a lot of challenges ahead but I’m not focussing on all of those. It’s pretty important for me to stay in the present and think about what I need to do today. I was very clear in my mind.”

He added, “The initial period will be tough. You have to focus on the basics. Playing close to your body, leaving the ball. In India, after the early overs, the ball doesn’t swing.”

On his unbeaten double century opening partnership with Mayank Agarwal, Rohit said, “Me and Mayank, we always spoke between the overs, about how we need to try and find those little gaps and place the ball between those two fielders and try and rotate the strike because that is very important on a pitch where it’s slower and lower.”

India connection

South African debutant and left-arm spinning all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy said, “Of course, it [debut] is very special. My forefathers are from the South of India, Tamil Nadu. But it is one of the things, I am firmly South African, a few generations down the line. But yes, no getting away from that.”

He added, “I learnt from my first day [in Test cricket] that you need to compete every ball. You need to plug away and thereby try to take control.”

About the pitch here, Muthusamy said, “It is going to deteriorate like any wicket in the sub-continent. From a left-hander’s perspective, that’s a part of the game.”

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 6:44:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/mentally-i-was-ready-to-open-rohit/article29576805.ece

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