When Rahul Sharma was named to India's squad for the ODI series against England, followed by the Test and ODI series against the West Indies, not only were the national selectors criticised for an opting for an Indian Premier League specialist, the player's credentials for the longer versions of the game were also questioned.
No doubt, Rahul's stats in domestic cricket can hardly surpass his exceptional performance in the IPL's fourth season for the Pune Warriors.
When the team management kept him on the sidelines for more than seven weeks, not only did it highlight a lack of communication between the selectors and management, it gave rise to murmurs on whether the latter was convinced about the leg-break bowler's ability at the highest level.
Against this backdrop, the Punjab bowler's three-wicket haul on his ODI debut at Indore on Thursday was commendable.
Virender Sehwag's record-breaking 219 may have sealed the match even before Rahul was introduced in the attack, but the desire to repay the selectors' faith weighed on the lanky bowler's mind as he took the field in Indore.
'Being with India team helped'
Rahul admitted that being with the team for 12 games had helped. "I have been playing cricket for the last 10 years, so I just needed to keep myself ready to play," he said on the eve of the final ODI against the West Indies on Sunday.
"I have been a part of the team for some time now, and that was helpful. (MS) Dhoni and (Virender) Sehwag supported me and told me to be patient and be ready whenever my chance came."