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Hyderabad: Youngster Abhishek Sharma delivered on the confidence reposed in him by Sunrisers Hyderabad who bought him in auctions at a hefty price of Rs 6.5 crore. Sunrisers did not have the best of starts to their campaign losing back to back matches. However, three weeks into the season, Sunrisers turned the fortunes around and became the only team to record four straight games.

The southpaw Abhishek played his part to perfection. Asked to open the innings along with captain Kane Williamson, the Punjab lad, who opens in the domestic cricket, smashed a match-winning unbeaten 75 against Chennai Super Kings to power his side to first victory.

Speaking exclusively with Telangana Today after their team’s fourth win in the league, the 21-year-old said, “We were disappointed to lose the first two games. But we worked hard and everyone in the team was motivated to win. We did our roles to perfection and winning four back to back matches is a great feeling.”

Having played in the middle and lower down the order previously in the IPL, he revealed that he is relishing his role as opener. “I have been waiting for this opportunity. I was very confident of opening since I have been doing the same role in the domestic season. In a league like IPL, you may not get this kind of opportunity. I wanted to prove myself. Once I got it, I was determined to do well,” added Abhishek who chipped in with 42 against Gujarat Titans and 31 against Punjab Kings.
However, he could not do well in the first two matches. Was he under pressure?

“Initially, there was no pressure on me. After the first two matches, obviously, there was a bit of pressure. I played well against the Chennai Super Kings and contributed to the team’s success. It was pretty special. That knock (75 not out against CSK) was also my first half-century in the IPL and it is very special,” he added.

He also revealed that batting along with the ice-cool personality like Williamson also helped him a lot. “Kane is the best captain I have played under. He is one of the greats and batting with him helped me a lot. He always motivates me and gives me a lot of confidence,” he added.

He said that the team sports a ‘settled’ look with the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram finishing off matches in style. “The team looks very settled right now with Pooran and Markram doing the job of finishing the matches. Both are experienced players and have been doing the same job for their countries. So the team is a mix of youth and experience. I feel we are one of the best teams.”

The presence of the batting great from West Indies Brian Lara is also a big boost for him. “He is a legend and I am making the most of my time learning from him. I keep asking questions and try to get what I can. When I spoke to Yuvraj Singh he also said that Lara was his favourite batter. I am very delighted to be training with him. He is not just helping me but all the youngsters a lot.”

On a personal front, he said he had set certain targets and is working with Lara to achieve them.

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Author: Howard Caldwell