India news July 15, 2013

Rohit enjoying his 'best phase in international cricket'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rohit Sharma, the India batsman, has said he is relishing opening the batting for India in one-day cricket. The consistent run he had all through the Champions Trophy and the tri-series in West Indies, he said, was his most satisfying phase in international cricket so far.

"I am enjoying my new role as an opener. That I have been successful and my contribution has helped the team's cause makes it even more satisfying," Rohit told PTI in an interview. "From the point of view of consistency, this has certainly been my best phase as an international cricketer."

Rohit, who usually bats in the middle order, was bumped up to open in the last two ODIs of the home series against England in January after the out-of-form Virender Sehwag was dropped and Ajinkya Rahane failed to grab his chance. He began with 83 off 93 balls in Mohali and has opened in all India's ODIs since, averaging 43.72 in 12 games. In the West Indies, he produced scores of 60, 5, 46, 48* and 58 in difficult batting conditions. And the move seems to be working for India too, as they have won nine of those 12 games and all three tournaments.

The ODI opener's role has changed with the introduction of the rule by which two new balls are used, Rohit said, but he has the technique to succeed. "The role with two new balls coming into play is different. It's no longer going after the bowling from the word go. There are a few shots that should be avoided during the initial overs.

"But I was always confident about my technique. The opener's job is specialised one, but I always knew that I could hold my own if I am given an opportunity at the top of the order. The innings of 83 against England wasn't the best but proved to be a morale booster for me."

India's next one-day series is against Zimbabwe, beginning July 24.