It took Rohit Sharma 108 ODIs and more than 3000 runs to wear the Test whites - the longest any player has taken to graduate to Test cricket. But things are changing. This is year 2013 and this definitely is a different Rohit Sharma: an ODI double centurion and now only the 14th Indian to hit a Test century on debut.
Rohit could have made his Test debut three years and nine months ago, in 2010, but he was destined to do it in a momentous Test series - the last one for Sachin Tendulkar. Ironically, it might be Tendulkar's No. 4 position that Rohit will take after the greatest Indian batsman pulls the curtains down in Mumbai.
On Wednesday, when most made their way to the Eden Gardens to watch Tendulkar bat, it was Rohit who stole the limelight, especially after Tendulkar scored just 10 and was on the wrong end of an LBW shout.
Rohit was looking for support at 83 for 5, became the senior partner at 172 for 6 and was in total control at stumps - batting at 127 in a 198-run unbroken stand with R Ashwin who was eight shy of his second Test century.
Flashback 2010: a twisted ankle prevented Rohit from playing his maiden Test against South Africa in Nagpur. Flashback 2011: he was overlooked for the World Cup at home. Cut to 2013: after more than two frustrating years and then six months into his re-birth as an ODI player, Tendulkar handed Rohit his Test cap on November 6. And life changed.
A batsman who promised more but delivered less has started to deliver what he promises, ever since he started to open with Shikhar Dhawan in coloured clothing. Incidentally, both have scored a century on debut, and this year itself, in which they also have as many as six ODI century partnerships to their name.
Many believe elevation as the skipper of Mumbai Indians (MI) changed Rohit into a responsible cricketer, one who led by example in Mumbai's double of IPL and CLT20 triumphs earlier this year.
Whatever it was, the World Cup snub or the MI captaincy, India have the real Rohit Sharma back. Hopefully, forever.