Rohit Sharma’s awry run of form has plummeted his career into deeper caverns of despair. The unquestionably talented batsman has only managed to flicker over a generous grant of 83 ODI matches.
Besides talent, Rohit has also demonstrated an awful lot of nonchalance – his seemingly careless strides at the crease and his inability to learn from mistakes have hastened his momentary downfall. He still throws a horizontal bat to away swinging peaches and still shuffles too far across the line of deliveries – leaving himself exposed and prone to leg before decisions.
Rohit announced himself with panache in the CB Series of 2008 in Australia. He acclimatised himself appropriately on the searing pitches and scored two half centuries. Thereafter, he has largely failed to fulfill expectations. However, the team management seems to have bundled tremendous hopes on Rohit, given his silken stroke play and a very impressive domestic record. Rohit has gathered over 4000 runs at an average of 59.90 in his First Class career. He even scored two centuries in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy final to grind his way back to the national team.
Rohit is also among the scarce breed of Indian batsmen who can play the short ball with aplomb. Given the fact that he can spot the length of a delivery quite early, he can afford to consume that extra fraction of a second while making a shot. And it is thoroughly delightful to watch Rohit in his element – a consummate stroke maker who uses his feet and wrists to great effect. As much as he can play conventional text book strokes, he is also a whimsical person at the crease, who time and again displays odd strokes beyond the realms of relevance and logic.
Following successful outings against the West Indies last year, his inconsistency has resurfaced. He has looked hapless at the crease in his three games against Sri Lanka. Not only has he diluted his owns odds of retaining his place in the side, but he has also kept Manoj Tiwary out of the picture.
Rohit has definitely had his share of chances. In 2012, he has only managed a measly average of 18 from 11 ODIs. Manoj Tiwary, on the other hand has played just six games since he made his debut in 2008 in Brisbane – with five of them coming in 2011. Despite having enjoyed priority, Rohit is yet to fortify his place in the Indian line up.
The team management has persisted with Rohit keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup; which means Rohit’s career is by no means over. It just means that Tiwary will get the nod for the remaining two games. Which however, will be all, when Tendulkar declares himself fit, leaving Tiwary out of the scheme of things on grounds of inexperience.
Rohit, despite his lean patch, is still more than just a floating component in the eyes of the team management. Their priority will be to sort his temperament issues because, he has compiled 10 of his 14 fifty plus scores on foreign soil. And this is a very unusual record to spot among the current crop of emerging Indian batsmen. Despite all his looming flaws, his natural technique is virtuous enough to tackle steep bounce and swing.
The cricketing fraternity always loves a comeback and it is about time Rohit made his – it is about time he converted all the defiant elegance into substantial scores. It is immensely crucial that he orchestrates his renaissance, for this fortunate passage of nepotism shown by the selectors will not last an eternity.