SK Flashback: Rohit Sharma's ODI debut vs Ireland
It all began for him during his years with the Indian U-17 and U-19 teams. Sharma was the top scorer in the 2006 U-19 World Cup and was soon selected in the India A side. The big break for the Nagpur-born lad came a year later when he was selected for the one-off one-dayer against Ireland and the subsequent ODI series against South Africa.
On this day, way back in 2007, Rohit made his ODI debut and as cliched as it may sound, the rest is history.
The big debut
Belfast was the venue for India's only ODI against Ireland which was considered a practice game for the Men in Blue before their series against the Proteas. In keeping with their stature and favourites tag, India bowled out Ireland for 193 with Shantakumaran Sreesanth and RP Singh combining well before Piyush Chawla wreaked havoc in the middle overs.
In their run chase, Gautam Gambhir and Sourav Ganguly helped India reach the total with utmost ease as they cruised their way to a nine-wicket victory. Where was Rohit Sharma? What a dull and anticlimactic way to start one's career! Rohit did not get a chance to bat or contribute in any way on his debut as his first game in international cricket came and went in a flash.
The inconsistent start
Rohit became a regular in the side after he won India a group game against South Africa in the 2007 T20 World Cup in September. He then played some crucial knocks in next year's CB series. Despite his talent though, he was unable to reach the next level.
He was highly inconsistent and unable to concentrate on building big innings. Criticism from pundits and fans and calls for his dropping became louder each day and the precociously talented batsman was dropped for the fateful 2011 World Cup.
The turning point
Rohit was badly out of form when the squad was announced and the middle order batsman could not beat the likes of Yuvraj Singh/Suresh Raina to a place in the final 15. But it turned out to be a career-defining moment as it ignited a fire inside him. After that snub, Sharma never looked back and soon became a monster of a batsman.
His coach, Dinesh Lad had revealed that Rohit was feeling really depressed when he was not selected for the World Cup. But that snub was the best thing that happened to him as he got precious time to look at his game and work on his weaknesses.
The best years of Sharma's career
In 2013, Sharma was made to open the innings and it proved to be a masterstroke from the team management. The Mumbai Indians captain was brilliant in the 2013 Champions Trophy and he then scored two centuries in the series against Australia which included a historic 209.
Sharma was then selected in the Test team and justified the decision by scoring two tons in two innings. In 2014, he did the unthinkable by scoring yet another double hundred, this time against Sri Lanka. He scored a world record 264 not out at the Eden Gardens which included 16 huge sixes.
Fast forward to this year, and the Mumbai skipper managed to win his third IPL title with Mumbai Indians. His legacy in the IPL is unmatched and Rohit may go down as the most successful IPL captain of all time.