'Rohit Sharma always had a fighting spirit', says AB de Villiers
New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Former South Africa cricketer, AB de Villiers heaped praises on Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, saying "he is a fighter" and "never backs down to anyone".
Rohit has found himself in a rich vein of form in the ongoing Asia Cup as he has smashed three half-centuries already, one each against Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In the tie against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma racked up a herculean feat in the antiquity of ODIs that propelled him to a club of elites. He became the sixth Indian to complete 10000 runs in ODIs, which also made him the second fastest member to reach the milestone after Virat Kohli, eclipsing the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Sourav Ganguly, Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, MS Dhoni and India’s current coach, Rahul Dravid.
"Rohit was fourth slowest to 2000 runs, but the second fastest to 10000. How’s that for a comeback? I have a lot of respect for him. The first time I watched him play, I thought this guy has got something special to offer. What I like most about him - from a very young age, he’s always had a fighting spirit. He would not back down to anyone," De Villiers said on his YouTube channel.
De Villiers also recalled a match against South Africa in which Rohit took on South African pacers like Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and said: "I think of a Test match in Durban where he just wouldn’t stand back to Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel or any of our fast bowlers. He would make eye contact. If anyone chirped him. He would be right in their face, chest out. I always liked that."
At that time, I didn’t enjoy it because he was there to beat us. But thinking back, he always had this incredible fighting spirit," he added.
The 39-year-old South African further applauded Shubhman Gill's pairing with Rohit and called them a dangerous opening pair for the opposition. The became the fastest Indian pair to complete 1000 partnership runs, getting to the milestone in just 13 innings.
"Very interestingly, he has had an incredible partnership with Shubman Gill. Two fighters at the crease is always a dangerous thing for the opposition. As an opening pair, they are averaging 87-odd (95) with a strike rate of 110. If they can do that for India in the World Cup...," said De Villiers.
India is set to face Bangladesh before locking horns with hosts Sri Lanka in the final of Asia Cup 2023 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday.