Words of encouragement from Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant lifted Jemimah Rodrigues' spirit while she tackled a difficult phase and worked on her comeback, which began right after being dropped from the Indian women's team.
The chirpy cricketer feels she is blessed to have spoken to the likes of Rohit and Pant. Jemimah, who was not part of India's World Cup squad in New Zealand, marked her return to international cricket with a vital 27-ball 36 not out to give India enough runs to defend in the first T20 International here on Thursday.
"My journey since the last Sri Lanka tour has not been smooth, it had its ups and downs. I have spoken to Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant, they told me these moments will define your career, they told me not to take it (being dropped from the squad before the World Cup) in a negative way," Jemimah said at the post-match press conference.
"They told me I should take up the challenge and move ahead. I am blessed to have spoken to them."
Coming in at number five, Rodrigues did not succumb to the pressure created by the Sri Lankan bowlers and scored some crucial runs, hitting three fours and a six. India posted 138 for 6 and the visiting bowlers choked the Sri Lankans to secure a convincing 34-run victory.
"I have understood my game better in the four-five months, I have become calmer, I have changed though my height remains the same," said Jemimah.
"I started preparing right after I was dropped."
Coming into the middle at a crucial juncture of the innings, Jemimah said she was nervous to start with.
"This innings means a lot, I was nervous initially but the late cut boundary helped me a lot in easing things up. I am back in the side after 4-5 months or maybe more than that. I was pumped up."
Asked about the pitch, she said, "I don't know, it is more like the pitch where I stay in Mumbai. The pitches are similar, so I am used to playing in these conditions. I love this country, it is a very beautiful country. It is a privilege to come here and the love we are getting from the board is great."