If he hadn't done already, Abhishek Sharma has made everyone sit up and take notice of the tremendous potential he has. Playing just his second T20I, the left-hander showed an attacking intent and smashed the bowlers to all round the park en route to a maiden T20I century, off only 46 balls. The youngster had developed quite the reputation of playing such explosive knocks at the top of the order but now, he has offered a glimpse of what the future of Indian batting in T20I cricket might look like with a sensational knock, which helped set the platform for India's series-levelling win over Zimbabwe in the second T20I. After the match, Abhishek Sharma shared that he had actually played the match with friend and captain Shubman Gill's bat. Abhishek Sharma Becomes Fastest Indian Batsman To Score Maiden T20I Hundred, Achieves Feat During IND vs ZIM 2nd T20I 2024.

"Today I played with Shubman Gill's bat," the left-hander said after the match, as per a quote from ICC's website. "So a special thanks to the bat as well. And this happens, I think, from the under-12 days. Whenever I think like, this is a pressure game or this is, you know, a match where I should perform, I usually take his bat. Even in the IPL also, I usually ask for one bat. And today he gave me his bat. So I think it went really well." For the uninitiated, Abhishek Sharma and Shubman Gill have been childhood friends, having featured in India's 2018 U19 World Cup-winning squad. Both the players also play for the same state-Punjab. Abhishek Sharma Becomes First Indian Batsman To Score T20I Century Against Zimbabwe, Achieves Feat During IND vs ZIM 2nd T20I 2024.

Abhishek Sharma was dismissed for a four-ball duck on his international debut in the first T20I of the series, which India went on to lose by just 13 runs. However, he more than made up for it with his performance in the second fixture, helping the Men in Blue level the series in some style. The Sunrisers Hyderabad star also gave credit to his father while talking about his ability to hit big sixes at will. "Special mention to my dad, who in my childhood didn't allow too much interference from coaches," the left-hander said, adding, "He asked me to hit the big aerial shots. But he always told me this thing that if you want to play a lofted shot, it should go out of the boundaries."

With the series levelled 1-1, both India and Zimbabwe will hope to gain a lead when they meet in the third T20I on July 10. While India do have the momentum on their side, having found their mojo especially in the batting department, Zimbabwe would believe they can script a comeback after the 100-run defeat in the second T20I.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 07, 2024 11:35 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).