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"When you play after a long time, small mistakes do happen" - Pragyan Ojha backs Rohit Sharma to come good in Brisbane

Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Rohit Sharma.
Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Rohit Sharma.
Modified 14 Jan 2021, 18:17 IST

Former Indian left-arm off-spinner Pragyan Ojha has defended Rohit Sharma's poor shot-selection in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), believing the player could do well at the Gabba.

The 33-year-old got off to good starts in both innings of the SCG Test but threw his wicket away on both occasions. In the first innings, Rohit Sharma chipped the ball straight back to Josh Hazlewood; in the second, he needlessly pulled a short ball from Pat Cummins straight down the throat of deep fine-leg after conjuring his first Test fifty overseas as an opener.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu, Pragyan Ojha explained why Rohit Sharma needs to be backed despite getting out through soft dismissals.

"You have to understand one thing. He (Rohit Sharma) has come after a while. You know last that he played was a T20 tournament (IPL). At times, how much ever you try and restrict yourself, your instincts take over. So those were the two shots where instincts took over," Pragyan Ojha asserted.

Rohit Sharma picked up a hamstring injury during the IPL 2020 season that kept him out of the entire limited-overs leg and the first two Tests of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series.

After making a fabulous start to life as a Test opener, Team India were looking forward to welcoming Rohit Sharma at the top of the order in the third Test at the SCG after the failures of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal in the two preceding Tests.

In five matches as a Test opener, Rohit Sharma had scored 556 runs in five Tests at a phenomenal average of 92.66 coming into the SCG game.

Pragyan Ojha hails Rohit Sharma's opening partnership with Shubman Gill

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill

Team India finally managed to discover a successful opening pair, as both Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill looked comfortable against the Australian pace attack in Sydney.

The duo were positive in their approach and did not miss out on putting the bad balls away. They added 70 and 71 runs respectively for the first wicket in both innings.

While many former greats of the game were impressed with Shubman Gill's performance, Pragyan Ojha feels the youngster needs to focus on his game and stay grounded.

The 34-year-old knows Gill is a special talent and has the wherewithal to blossom in international cricket, but he wants him to match it with hard work and determination.

"After a long time, about 30-40 years, we have got a 50-plus partnership in both the innings. Shubman Gill is the future. All these greats have spoken highly about him. I feel everybody sees your talent, but it is you who has to persist, work hard and make sure you prolong your career. This is just the beginning," Pragyan Ojha asserted.

Team India have decided to announce their playing XI on the morning of the Gabba Test, as they are still monitoring the fitness of Jasprit Bumrah and Mayank Agarwal. Bumrah suffered an abdominal strain during the third Test while Mayank Agarwal was injured in the nets.


Australia, on the other hand, have already announced their playing XI, with the left-handed Marcus Harris set to replace the injured Will Pucovski.

Australia haven't lost at the Gabba since 1988. Considering their formidable record at the venue, an injury-ravaged Team India will need to pull off another against-the-odds result to thwart the hosts and retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Published 14 Jan 2021, 18:17 IST
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