How VVS Laxman’s ‘IPL’ reminder, father’s ‘six-hitting’ pep talk helped Abhishek Sharma score 46-ball hundred vs ZIM

    It was his six-hitting ability, displayed at its best in the 2024 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), that earned him a spot in the Indian T20I side. And it was with a six that Abhishek Sharma wanted to start his international career on Saturday in the opening game of the series against Zimbabwe in Harare. However, the opener incurred a dismissal for duck when he found himself caught at deep backward square leg in his attempt for the maximum. But in a space of 24 hours, Abhishek turned his fortunes around with a fiery 46-ball century, which helped India win by 100 runs and level the contest to 1-1.

    Abhishek Sharma score 46-ball hundred in India’s win against Zimbabwe in the 2nd T20I

    India lost their captain Shubman Gill, in the second over after being put to bat first at the Harare Sports Club, but Abhishek forged a 137-run stand in 46 balls, en route to which he smashed seven boundaries and eight sixes to score his maiden ton. While the 46-ball knock was the third fastest by an Indian in the format, he became the nation’s quickest form to score a hundred in the format, taking just two innings to reach the milestone.

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    Not to forget, not only did Abhishek begin his knock in the second T20I with a six, he completed his hundred with a hat-trick of maximums.

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    Speaking to Indian Express from Amritsar, Rajkumar Sharma, Abhishek’s father, opened up on the pep talk he gave his son after he was dismissed for a duck in his international debut.

    “He was a bit dejected. You can’t blame him. When you get out on nought on your debut, you do question your approach. He was blaming himself for his six-hitting obsession. I reminded him that his six-hitting ability has helped him reach here. Why change your style now, stick to your strength,” advised Rajkumar.

    He also revealed how stand-in head coach VVS Laxman motivated him after the first T20I, reminding him of his exploits in the IPL 2024 season, where he scored 484 runs in 16 innings with a strike rate of 204.02 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

    “Captain (Shubman) and coach (Laxman) saab also had a word with him after the match. Laxman sir told him, ‘You were thrashing all the international bowlers in the IPL. Treat it as any IPL match, take your time, get acclimatised and then no one will stop you’,” he said.

    “With Shubman being the captain, it has also helped. The duo has opened for Punjab since their U-14 days and now they are opening for India. Mark my words, these two will forge a destructive opening partnership and will win many games for India in the future,” added Rajkumar.

    Abhishek did indeed follow Laxman’s advise and maintained composure even as he suffered a scare when batting on 27. He took 33 balls to reach the half-century mark, but smashed the next fifty runs in just 13 balls.

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