India's wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma had a great outing on his international debut during the fourth T20I against Australia in Raipur. Jitesh hit a blistering 35 runs off 19 deliveries in the final overs as India reached a formidable target and in the end proved decisive in their series-clinching victory at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur on Friday. (Match Blog | Key Battles | Cricket News)
During the game, Suryakumar Yadav-led side were in a spot of bother as they lost Ruturaj Gaikwad in the 14th over jus as when they were looking to switch gears following the quick wickets of the skipper and Shreyas Iyer.
However, Jitesh did not fret one bit on his international debut as he stitched a crucial 56-un partnership with Rinku Singh. The wicketkeeper-batter hit three maximums and a boundary in his 19-ball 35 whereas Rinku bludgeoned 29-ball 46. The duo's vital partnership helped India post a formidable 174 which was enough for the hosts to secure a series-win.
However, Jitesh was playing his first game in the series as the management played Ishan Kishan as the former had to watch from the bench. Jitesh was also in action at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou but could only face four balls across three games in the tournament.
In his first home series as Indian cricketer, Jitesh showed no signs of nervousness as he played a crucial knock for his side.
"Yes, I enjoy it a lot. Yes sir (IPL prepares you well for international cricket). The atmosphere is the same. I feel the pressure is same. because of IPL, a lot of things become easier in international cricket. You have experienced such pressure, you have been in these situations before. So it becomes a bit easy," JItesh told JioCinema.
"Only when you are under pressure, will you know about your character," he added.
Jitesh is a well-known name in the Indian Premier League with the Punjab Kings franchise. He had amassed an impressive strike rate of 156 in the 2023 season and scored 309 runs, becoming the third-highest run-getter for his team.
Jitesh stated that he wasn't mentally bogged by the fact that he was sitting on the bench but was preparing himself for the upcoming matches if opportunity presented itself.
"I was not thinking anything. I was just analysing the bowlers. Even while sitting outside, you can have a look at the bowlers. I see it as an opportunity. There is no problem sitting on the outside. But I prepare myself 100 percent when an opportunity presents," he added.
India play Australia in the fifth and final T20I on Sunday as they look to close on a winning note and claim the series 4-1 in Bengaluru.