Ritika Sajdeh has been a pillar of strength in Rohit’s life as she has stood by him even in the most difficult times. It was now Rohit’s time to pay her back on their wedding anniversary and he did it in some style by scoring an unbeaten 208.
As Rohit Sharma ran with all his might to complete a second run that took him to 199, the cameraman cut to Rohit’s wife Ritika Sajdeh. It was a tight double and if the throw at the striker’s end would have been a little more accurate, it would have been curtains for Rohit and his dream of scoring a third double ODI ton.
It was probably Ritika’s prayers that saved him. Rohit was on 184, after which he hit a six, following it with a single to take him to 191. He cleared the fence yet again, and then ventured for a tight double. With another two, he finally achieved what no one else ever has in world cricket. All this while, Ritika had her fingers crossed.
With the newly-wed Anushka Sharma in the news, it seems to be the week of the better halves of Indian cricketers. Cheteshwar Pujara-Puja, Yuvraj Singh-Hazel Keech, Mahendra Singh Dhoni-Sakshi or Rohit-Ritika, the way they have supported their husbands has become a characteristic of Indian cricket in recent times.
When Rohit reached the 100-run-mark, he was extremely pumped. He raised his bat to acknowledge the appreciation of the audience and then did a Virat Kohli. He dished out a flying kiss to Ritika, who ecstatically applauded from the stands. It was a moment that reminded cricket fans of Virat’s flying kiss to Anushka in Australia. Neither Rohit nor Ritika knew then that this moment was about to replicate itself in a couple of hours.
But it didn’t take too long, as he raced past the next 100 runs in a matter of 36 balls. The helmet was unbuckled, the bat brandished and another flying kiss was blown with the utmost affection. It was received with a smile from the face of a teary-eyed Ritika.
What Rohit achieved in the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka in Mohali is being applauded by everyone in the cricketing arena. But what it takes to achieve such a feat cannot be aptly understood by many. When Rohit, after undergoing a thigh surgery in London, in November last year was going through rehab, he had Ritika by his side.
“Comebacks are not at all easy. After a major surgery, the difficult part is to conquer the inner demons. It’s all in the mind. Only an individual can overcome his fears. My batting may look easy to the eye but trust me, it’s not that easy,” Rohit said on his comeback trail after the surgery.
Only those who have played the sport at a certain level can actually understand how difficult it is to recover and make a comeback after a career-threatening injury. Yet, every time Rohit has made a comeback he has made it big. His 264-run knock against Sri Lanka was also on the back of an injury.
His 151-ball knock, studded with 13 fours and 12 sixes, was the perfect wedding anniversary gift for Ritika. What more can you ask for? Probably a triple century!