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ZIM vs IND T20I series: Abhi, it's time for thanks!

Updated on: 09 July,2024 09:17 AM IST  |  Harare

India’s latest T20I centurion Abhishek Sharma grateful to teammate Shubman Gill for lending him his bat, ex-star Yuvraj Singh for guidance and Sharma Sr for encouraging him to play lofted shots the right way

ZIM vs IND T20I series: Abhi, it's time for thanks!

Abhishek Sharma

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ZIM vs IND T20I series: Abhi, it's time for thanks!

After blitzing a 47-ball century, Abhishek Sharma said he used the bat of his childhood friend, and now his captain here, Shubman Gill in the second T20I against Zimbabwe, and the opener termed it as a lucky charm in a “pressure game” for him. After getting dismissed for nought in the first match on Saturday, Abhishek, a day after, hammered seven fours and eight sixes in his even hundred, laying the foundation for India’s comprehensive 100-run win.

A beautiful journey 

Abhishek described his journey with Gill as “beautiful”, which started from the under-12 category. “It has been quite beautiful, starting as kids of 11-12 years. Yeah, we are playing together from under-12. When I was selected for the country, the first call I received was from Shubman,” said Abhishek in the post-match press meet.

India batsman Shubman Gill and Yuvraj Singh. Pic/Getty Images
India batsman Shubman Gill and Yuvraj Singh. Pic/Getty Images

Abhishek said playing with Gill’s bat has been a practice that he follows from the age-group cricket. “Today, I played with his bat, so special thanks to the bat. It happened from the under-12 days, as whenever I play a pressure game I ask him for a bat. It had happened in the IPL as well. Today was no exception as it went well as it usually happens,” said Abhishek.

Also Read: Jasprit Bumrah 'living a dream' through India's World Cup triumph

The left-hander also thanked former India batter Yuvraj Singh and his own father for the fearless cricket that he was able to play. “Yuvi paaji [Yuvraj Singh] has made a big contribution. I don’t consider myself as sixer-king or something like that. Special thanks to my dad for allowing me to play lofted shots. Generally, coaches don’t allow a young batter to hit lofted shots. But my dad always said if you want to play a lofted shot then it should go out of the ground. So, I wanted to follow that,” he elaborated.

IPL experience 

So, was there pressure on him ahead of his T20I debut, which he made in the first game here on Saturday? “I think the IPL plays a big role in this [handling pressure]. We did not feel much pressure when we came here to represent the country as debutants. Unfortunately, we didn’t start well in the first match. But my mindset and approach were pretty much similar—to show the right intent.” The 23-year-old was ousted in the opening over itself for a four-ball duck in the first match. But for Abhishek, it was not enough to transform his mindset or approach.

“This is my game and I will go for the shot from the first ball if it’s in my slot. If it’s my day then it works out, and if it does not, then I don’t mind. I practise a lot for this mindset,” he said.  However, Abhishek said he implemented his gameplan much better in the second match. “Of course, my execution was better today [Sunday] than yesterday. I was just calculating the risk that I should take in the first over, or whether to play according to the merit of the ball. Whenever I get boundaries or sixes in the first few balls then I believe that it’s my day,” he signed off. 

This is just the start, says Yuvraj 

Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was the proud man after watching his student Abhishek Sharma scoring maiden T20I century in his second international match. Abhishek smashed a 46-ball ton against Zimbabwe in the second T20I after failed to score any run in his international debut on Saturday. Other than Abhishek, Ruturaj Gaikwad slammed unbeaten 77 while Rinku Singh played a knock of 48 not out off 22 balls to steer India to 234-2 in 20 overs.

India comfortably won the match by 100 runs after bundling out Zimbabwe for 134. Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar clinched three wickets each while Ravi Bishnoi picked up two scalps. Abhishek, who was awarded Player of the Match, made a video-call to his family and Yuvraj after the match. The ex-star was happy with Abhishek’s performance and congratulated him on the feat. He also added that it is just the start and many more [tons] are yet to come. “Well done, very proud. You deserved it. Many more to come, this is just the start,” Yuvraj said in the video-call with Abhishek.

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