After being in and out of the Indian side far too frequently, Indian batsman Rohit Sharma is making his presence known. And what better milieu to do it in than in a foreign land in the only Twenty20 of the tour.
On Sunday, Jan 9, the 23-year-old notched up 53 valuable runs for India to take India to the match-winning score of 168/6 against South Africa and snatched up the Man of the Match award for his effort.
After the encounter, Sharma expressed satisfaction that he was able to start his South African tour by shaping India's win in the twenty20 and views the upcoming 5-match ODI series as an opportunity to stabilise his place in the side. Sharma, who represents Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, was yesterday bought by IPL side Mumbai Indians for a staggering sum of $ 2 million.
When asked if the outrageous contract was the inspiration behind his cracking half-century on
Sunday, he said, "Not really. It was important to start on good note. It will be a challenging tournament. It is a very good opportunity (for cementing a place in ODI team)."
The young batsman said his familiarity with South African conditions helped him score with a cool head.
"I have played here in T20 World Cup and in IPL and went accordingly. The wicket was on a slower and lower side and it was not easy to play shots. My plan was to rotate strike," he said.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was happy with the win and recognised the efforts of the part time bowlers in the victory, ass well as Rohit's hand.
"Rohit batted well, the kind of start we needed. The score of 160-170 was good one here. The big advantage was the part-time bowlers. They become specialists in T20s," he said.
The vanquished skipper Johan Botha also admitted the Indian bowlers wrested the match in visitors favour.
"They got off to a good start and India bowled well. When Morne (van Wyk) was going we thought we had a chance but we kept getting behind after that. We can't expect number eight and nine to get those runs."
Rohit made a pacy 44 during close match against New Zealand in early December and is hoping to string together a series of valuable knocks to prove his worth in the side.