Why it makes more sense to play Rohit Sharma ahead of Hanuma Vihari at Perth

Rohit Sharma got out playing a rash shot in the first Test
Rohit Sharma got out playing a rash shot in the first Test
Sachin Arora
Modified 16 Dec 2018

A lot has been said about Rohit Sharma's inability to translate his limited-overs success into Test cricket. This can be attributed to a lot of things - lack of a Test match temperament, faulty technique due to excessive limited-overs cricket and perhaps an inflated ego which makes it difficult to allow bowlers to dominate even if it is for a short while.

After getting dropped from the England Test series, Rohit Sharma came back to the Indian Test team for the Australian tour without doing anything substantial in First Class cricket, which raised a lot of eyebrows. Not only did he made a comeback into the touring Indian squad, but he was also straightaway drafted into the playing eleven for the first Test at Adelaide, which India eventually won.

Rohit Sharma looked impressive while he was on the crease during the first innings of the first Test, but his temperamental shortcomings came to the fore once again and he got out while playing a rash shot, and also got out cheaply in the second innings. This performance in the first Test does not warrant him a place in the second, especially considering the fact that Hanuma Vihari is breathing down his neck for the place of the sixth batsman in the Indian team, but that is just one side of the coin.

The second Test will be played in Perth. Although it is a new ground with a drop-in pitch, it is being said that it is a fast and bouncy track. Australia has a strong pace attack with the likes of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins making up their pace battery. Pitching in Vihari against a formidable Australian attack in extremely hostile conditions for an inexperienced Indian batsman would be too much of an ask, and it will be a big risk in the context of the series.

It might be a right move considering the future of Indian batting, but India's primary objective at the moment is winning the Australian series. A quick-fire 30 or 40 from the experienced Sharma would be handier than a slow 10 or 20 that forms part of the learning curve for Vihari. Moreover, Rohit Sharma has ideal conditions at Perth - he is a stroke-maker who will enjoy the pace and bounce offered by the Perth pitch.

Vihari will get his opportunity down the line
Vihari will get his opportunity down the line

Though Vihari has done nothing wrong to stay out of the Indian Test team, it's time to follow the horses-for-courses policy and keep Sharma in the team for the sake of winning the much-elusive series on Australian shores.

Published 13 Dec 2018
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