MS Dhoni has said Rohit Sharma's half-century in the fourth ODI against England was a timely innings and one that would give the batsman confidence after a succession of low scores at international level.
Rohit opened in India's chase of 258 and contributed significantly to India's series-clinching victory in Mohali. He made 83 off 93 deliveries in the five-wicket win.
"I am glad he scored runs because he is one of the most god-gifted talents that is around," Dhoni said after the game. "Of course an innings like this was very much needed for him. It will give him a lot of confidence and also time at the top level. Personally I am very happy for him."
Rohit had not played in the previous three ODIs against England, with India choosing to give Ajinkya Rahane a run in the side. But after several unconvincing performances, Rahane was left out and Rohit was asked to open for only the fourth time in his ODI career.
"We all felt he is someone who can be a really good opener, in the sense he cuts and pulls really well," Dhoni said. "Also, with two openers, you want one of them to be slightly more aggressive than the other. I think he accepted the challenge, he also felt he got into the side because Manoj [Tiwary] was unfit. So it was an opportunity for him. The good thing was he took it as a challenge."
Rohit anchored the first half of India's chase, forming half-century stands with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, before his dismissal in the 32nd over. When asked what might have happened had Rohit not performed today, Dhoni said it was a difficult question to answer. "It's very important to think and go in one direction, not only as coach and captain but also with the selectors because at the end of the day, mutually we decide who is the best available talent and you have to give those guys a bit of a rope.
"I don't know what would have happened if Rohit had not scored runs or in any other scenario. The best that we could have done was give him another chance in Dharamsala and then see, because we are not playing too many ODIs after that. We all felt he is very talented, he got an opportunity in the last series in Sri Lanka where he got a few good deliveries."