KOLKATA: Making his Test debut after playing in 108 ODIs over the last 45 months, ton-up Indian batsman Rohit Sharma said his source of inspiration has been former Australian run-machine Mike Hussey, who had played his first game in the five-day format aged 30.
Sharma stamped his class by hitting an unbeaten 127 on debut as India recovered from a top-order collapse to take a firm grip of the first Test against the West Indies with a 120-run first-innings lead at the Eden Gardens.
"Being a sportsman, there are a lot of inspirations to take from so many sportsmen around the world. You got to look at Michael Hussey... He made his debut at 30. There are a lot of other cricketers who waited for their opportunity... So I'm no different," Sharma told reporters on Thursday.
"I am one of them. I know once I get an opportunity I would try and make the most out of it. I never wanted to put my head down. I always believed if you got the talent and ability, there's no need to worry about anything," Sharma added after his sparkling knock on the second day.
The Mumbaikar said he knew his time in Test cricket would come.
"I know there was a phase when things were not going my way. But I never put my head down. I just wanted to focus... I knew there would be a time when runs will flow. I just waited, waited... Kept working on my game hard and today I'm really happy what's happened."
In February 2010, Sharma was assured of making his Test debut against South Africa in Nagpur, but he twisted his ankle in a freak mishap with Wriddhiman Saha, giving the opportunity to the Bengal wicketkeeper.
"I was a bit disappointed about what happened in 2010. I just wanted to have all my focus on this Test. Finally, it came. Whether it came after three years does not matter.
Asked whether he's in the form of his life, he said: "I really don't know. Whenever it happens you got to be proud, you got to take that."
"Test match hundred is always special. I'm happy to score on debut. I was waiting for an opportunity for a long time. I was thinking to bat well and did not think much about scoring hundred. I just wanted to continue my ODI form," Sharma said.
He said the third day is going to be crucial for the hosts.
"With this magnificent day today, I'm happier. We got a game in our hand, we just need to be focussed. Tomorrow it's going to be a more crucial day. If we can play till about lunch, or few overs after lunch and we can get good lead there, try and put them under pressure.
"I just wanted to continue from where I left in Bangalore. If you're in good form, you got to take the responsibility to carry it forward," he added.
He refused to compare his ODI double ton in Bangalore with the debut century here.
"I cannot say whether the ODI double hundred or this one on debut was more special. Anywhere you get a hundred is special, and if your team wins then that's icing on the cake.
"Obviously we got to wait for another three days to see what happens in the game. Both these innings are very close to me. We won the series by that innings in Bangalore. Let's hope we can get into good position tomorrow and then I would be of course happier. Still it's not over yet, Ashwin and I are batting. We got to score as many runs as possible and have enough lead."
But Sharma admitted scoring a century in Tests is more difficult.
"Runs do not come so easily in this format. As you've seen, I played only 150 balls to get a 200 hundred in ODI. And here I played about 150 (156) balls to get a hundred. This shows Test cricket is not easy. You got to work your way out and score runs."