The opportunity Rohit Sharma needs to capitalize on
It is so easy to paint a bright picture about the Indian team at the World Cup. After all, four wins and an unbeaten run will point to an ‘all is fine’ kind of feeling around the team. There is no doubt that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side has exuded plenty of resilience after a poor tri-series outing – not many would have expected India to win all of their first four games – three of the opponents being the tougher opponents of the group.
Not to take away any credit from Dhoni’s men, but one has to say that there are areas that the Indian team should still like to address.
Opener Rohit Sharma’s ‘up and down’ form will be a concern for India. Of course, he got an unbeaten half-century paving the winning chase against UAE, but otherwise hasn’t done much with the willow in the World Cup.
Only India batsman not among runs
Rohit played an air-fairy shot against Pakistan, which brought about his exit. He appeared to essay a premeditated shot when Sohail Khan’s delivery got big on him even as he tried to execute a pull shot on the front foot. Thankfully his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan blazed away against Pakistan, which eased India’s concerns at the top of the order.
The Mumbai lad faltered against South Africa courtesy a daft run out after being caught out of his crease even as Dhawan nudged one to the covers. The fact that Shikhar Dhawan blasted a whirlwind hundred against South Africa ensured India did not feel the pinch of Rohit’s early dismissal there either.
The consistent lapses in concentration continued against West Indies – he played away from the body to a superb Jerome Taylor delivery which hit the good length area and swung away late. One hoped Rohit would take the opportunity from Shikhar’s miss on the day, but he flattered to deceive.
If one takes a close look at India’s batting unit, most of the other guys have been among the runs. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni overcame his lack of runs going into the World Cup with a convincing match-winning knock against West Indies.
Virat Kohli has been in fine fettle and so is Ajinkya Rahana, who essayed a sublime seventy-odd against South Africa. Even Suresh Raina, who has been under the scanner for his inability to fire on bouncy Australian strips, came into his own against Pakistan and seems to be well prepared to overcome whatever is thrown at him by opposition bowlers.
Skipper Dhoni may not have acknowledged that Rohit is a concern area for India, but he hasn’t needed to because the team is on a roll. It’s only in the crunch games in the knockout phases where such inconsistency from Rohit can cost his team dearly.
From the Indian perspective, one hopes the opener rises up to the challenges in the upcoming few games and provides at least one meaningful contribution at the top of the order.