India batting star Rohit Sharma risked controversy on Monday by claiming that his country won a recent Test series in England that was cut short by a coronavirus scare before the final match could be played.
With England and India still negotiating over whether the fifth match in the series will go ahead, Sharma told reporters: “In my eyes, we have won the series 2-1.”
India were leading the series going into the fifth Test in Manchester, which was called off just two hours before it was due to start after Indian players expressed concerns over a coronavirus outbreak in their camp.
The move prompted anger from England because of the huge losses incurred.
Sharma is the first player to come out and claim the series for India – comments that could rub salt in England’s wounds.
“It was a great tour personally for me and for the team as well,” said Sharma, who is widely tipped to take over as India’s T20 captain when Virat Kohli steps down after the World Cup next month. “I don’t know what has happened with the last Test match, whether we have won the series or we are going to play that one-off Test later.
“In my eyes, we have won the series 2-1, that’s how I would like to look at it.”
Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has said a rescheduled match “should be considered the fifth Test of the series”.
India has proposed a one-off Test during their white-ball tour of England in July next year.
But ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has insisted that such a fixture would likely be a “standalone” with the ICC deciding on the series result.
Sharma is a limited-overs star who has led the Mumbai Indians to a record five IPL titles, but he has become a Test regular by curbing his attacking instincts.
The 34-year-old opener played a key role in the England series, with 368 runs including a match-winning century in the fourth Test.
“But I wouldn’t say this was my best. My best is yet to come,” he said. “For me, it was a great challenge and I overcame that challenge pretty well.
“For that, I did a lot of preparation. I know when you are playing in England what sort of mindset, what sort of small little technical adjustments you need to do.
“I managed to do that and I was pretty happy with how I batted on that tour. I would like to take that confidence from there and take it into my future Test series as well.”
Sharma, the first player to hit twin tons on his debut as Test opener in 2019, has played 43 Tests since 2013.
© Agence France-Presse