The 2007 T20 World Cup was a landmark moment for Indian cricket. Just a few months on from their disastrous world cup campaign in the West Indies, Indian cricket received a massive boost in the most unexpected of ways.
MS Dhoni’s first tournament as a captain ended in victory, as Sreesanth took the catch which brought India the first ever T20 world title.
Of the many stars of the tournament in South Africa, a young 20-year old Mumbaikar caught everyone’s eye. Rohit Sharma debuted in a must win clash against South Africa, where in he scored an unbeaten 50 on a difficult track.
While the likes of Gautam Gambhir, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan are remembered for their match winning performances in the final, not many remember Rohit Sharma scoring an unbeaten 30 from 16 balls, which ultimately proved to be crucial in pushing India past 150.
Four months later, Rohit Sharma announced himself on the big stage after he played a superb 66 in the first final against Australia. The young Sharma wowed the Sydney crowd, as he defied his age and showed everyone another glimpse of his enormous talent.
That was 2008. For the next five years, Sharma failed to cement a place for himself in the Indian line up, with his exclusion from the 2011 World Cup squad being the nadir of his career.
But in spite of all this, Dhoni retained his faith in Sharma.
That came to light when Dhoni promoted Sharma to open for India in the 2013 Champions Trophy. It proved to be a master stroke as Sharma has since then formed a formidable opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan.
Sharma, Dhawan and Kohli form the core of this Indian line up, and have been racking up the runs over the last few years.
Sharma has finally started displaying the kind of consistency that was expected from him. His two ODI double tons against Australia and Sri Lanka tells us how ridiculously talented the man really is.
He took his game to new heights with his exploits against Australia in 2016. Sharma and Kohli tore apart the Australian bowlers and smashed them all over Australia, as the Indian white washed Australia 3-0 in the T20 series.
After returning from injury for the IPL this year, Sharma has been in sparkling form. His impressive displays in the Champions Trophy were followed by another good run in Sri Lanka.
His latest match winning century in the third ODI shows us why he is considered one of the top batsmen in world cricket today.
It has been almost a decade since Rohit Sharma has broken into the national side, but it is only now that he has erased the question marks over him.
With the world cup only two years from now, Sharma will be a crucial player if India hopes to win another world title.
And it may very well be Sharma’s last opportunity to do so.