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'Rohit's knock was extra-ordinary, unbelievable'

Former India captain Gundappa Viswanath yesterday heaped praise on India’s latest double centurion Rohit Sharma for his series-winning knock against Australia in the seventh and final ODI at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.

Rohit Sharma and (inset) Gundappa Viswanath
Perfect day: Rohit Sharma in a celebratory mood during his innings of 209 against Australia in the seventh and final ODI against Australia at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday and (Inset) Gundappa Viswanath

Rohit scored a mammoth 209 off just 122 balls, including 12 fours and a record 16 sixes, as India beat Australia by 57 runs to clinch the seven-match series 3-2, and Bangalorean Viswanath cherished the Mumbaikar’s strokeplay.

“It was an unbelievable knock from Rohit. Most importantly, he was unfazed by the challenge. It was a beautifully composed innings with a silken touch. He found the gaps beautifully,” said Viswanath, a prolific stroke-player in his heydays having played 91 Tests and 25 ODIs for India.

Rohit’s double ton also ensured he crossed 1000 runs this year, besides breaching the 3000-runs mark in his ODI career. And Viswanath said the opening batsman’s performance is particularly credible given it’s not his regular position.

“It must be remembered that Rohit is not an original opening batsman. He has adjusted well to the makeshift role and has made his performance count,” said Viswanath (64), who felt that those, who believe Rohit has done well only because of the nice piece of willow he wields, must also realise that a player has to time the ball too.

Furthermore, Viswanath said Rohit’s knock is even more significant given the situation India were in. “It was an extra-ordinary innings especially because it came after Virat Kohli was run out for zero (following a mix up with Rohit).

It appeared that Rohit was determined to do something extra, something special, so that India would not feel the pinch of Kohli’s early exit,” said Viswanath, who also appreciated the manner in which Rohit picked up the pace later on.

“It’s never easy to score a double century and I liked the way he paced his innings. His second 100 came of just 42 balls.” Meanwhile, at the post-match conference Rohit said the new rules of having just four fielders outside the circle, helped. “I was really not looking for it (200).

That’s how I play... if you look at my innings in Jaipur (141 not out), I took time to build it and that’s my gameplan. But when I was batting in 180s, I went for it. The new rule of five fielders inside the circle helped me score freely,” he said. 

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