During the 2007-08 CB Series in Australia, India had unearthed the most exciting young player. Rohit Sharma had come good in plenty of matches during the series. At the end of the series, he was touted by many to be the heir of Sachin Tendulkar himself. Close to almost 5 years later, watching the 25-year-old play, I wonder- what went wrong? One of Australia’s best captains, Ian Chappel, called Rohit Sharma- ‘the next best thing that happened to Indian cricket.’
To begin with, here was a batsman with a really good technique. Next up, you began to notice, amid the many sloggers, he was a player who played crisp drives and solid punches. Then came his fielding – energetic, enthusiastic and near-perfect. A bonus perhaps were his really useful off-spinners. All in all, here was a complete package. But again, five years down the line, Rohit Sharma hasn’t played a single Test, is not a permanent fixture in the ODI playing XI and is, if he is indeed picked, a floater in the batting order. Opportunities came his way but more often than not he has failed to cash in on them, with the primary accusation against him being irresponsibility, poor running, and throwing his wicket away under tight circumstances.
If Sharma has taken a reality check in the recent past, he’d probably see himself going nowhere. I agree I’ve been a little too harsh on him, for Rohit Sharma has had his moments of sheer brilliance on the field. Right from his debut in the inaugural T20 World Cup through the CB series, to his recent century in the 5th edition of the Indian Premier League, each and every one of those rare innings were gems, characterized by gorgeous shots. His shortcoming, however, lies in his inability to put in good performances consistently, something the other batsman in his league (the likes of Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli) do day in, day out. Far too many chances have been given away and in all probability they will dwindle.
One of my personal favourites, an incredible talent, Rohit Sharma must do all it takes to keep himself from going off the radar.