Visakhapatnam, Oct 6 (IANS) Rohit Sharma may have been named the Man of the Match for his twin tons in the first Test against South Africa here, but a victory would not have been possible had it not been for Mohammed Shami’s five-wicket haul on the final day.
Shami exploited the fifth day pitch to the full and blew away half of the South African batting order, including first innings centurion Quinton de Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis.
In the post-match press conference, Rohit said the key was to make the pacers bowl in short spells on the final day to keep them fresh.
“We wanted Shami and Ishant (Sharma) to be fresh in case there wasn’t too much for the spinners, which we saw happening towards the end. We decided that we will try to make the pacers bowl short spells of two to three overs. We all know what Shami can do when he is fresh, along with some biryani,” Rohit said in typical tongue-in-cheek fashion.
The Mumbai batsman also said that all the talks about him being given the opening slot ahead of the match didn’t really matter to him.
“I’ve protected myself with a shield around me for a long time now. All those things that happen outside doesn’t go past that shield. Eventually, I have to play and enjoy my game. It was my dream to play cricket and I am living that dream,” he said.
“When I was young, I never thought whether people will talk about me, and now that they are, I’ve protected myself with a pretty strong shield. Yes, I knew that at some stage I will open. That communication between the management and myself happened a long time ago.”