Terming the elevation of Rohit Sharma to Mumbai Indians captaincy the biggest turning point of his career, former captain Sunil Gavaskar said leading the IPL outfit has transformed the talented batsman and made him realise the value of his wicket.
Sharma stamped his class by hitting a sparkling 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 in Kolkata.
"This has been a great year for Rohit. Things have changed for him since he was appointed skipper mid way into the tournament (IPL) this year. He knew he had the ability but could not perform to his potential.
"He didn't realise the value of his wicket. But from the time he has started captaining Mumbai, he has completely transformed. I think it was the biggest turning point of his career," Gavaskar said.
"Rohit has shown great maturity and has been playing responsibly. M S Dhoni too deserves credit for showing faith in him. These are still starting days of his Test career but the fact that he has begun so well is a sign of a great future ahead," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Sharma led MI to the IPL and Champions League T20 titles this year.
On Sharma's batting effort, Gavaskar said: "He could have been carried away by the emotions after his century but he continued in same vein. This speaks about his maturity as he very well knows the importance of guiding India to big first innings lead.
"He played (Shane) Shillingford very late and with soft hands. That is why he was at ease playing the West Indian."
Ravichandran Ashwin was the other batting hero of the day as he remained unbeaten on 92.
"He (Ashwin) batted the same way he played the West Indies two years ago. He scored his maiden century there in Mumbai. The situation was very similar. He handed the pressure very well today," he said.
"He has worked very hard on his batting. He takes his batting seriously which is very good. Not only I see him as an allrounder but also as a potential leader," he added.
Image: Rohit Sharma