Mark of new beginning for Rohit

rohit sharma

Gaurav Joshi reporting from India

Couple of years as Rohit Sharma played one of his effortless cover drives at the Brabourne Stadium in a Ranji Trophy match Dilip Vengrsarkar stood up from the comfort of his seat, raised his hands, applauded and said to one renowned journalist seated next to him “He is the best I have seen since Tendulkar”.  In the space of the next six balls Rohit was cleaned bowled playing a reckless shot. Vengraskar stood up, slammed the door and left the box stating “When will this boy do justice to his talent, because it will be worth the sight”.

After watching Rohit’s master class against Australia in the final ODI in Bangalore it is easy to understand the frustration of Vengsarkar but also to realise why Vengsarkar has such high appraisal for the man from Mumbai. In space of those six balls Vengsarkar saw the best and the worst of Rohit Sharma.

In the last six months Rohit Sharma is yet to experience dour moment. He has answered all his critics and proved he has matured to reach the expectancy of his even his harshest detractors.   In hindsight he will continue to be blamed but had he been present the opportunity at the right time to represent India at the Test level he could easily be as devastating as Kohli in the last couple of years.

Last time Rohit was in contention to gain a Test spot, he was forced to carry drinks for over 3 months. An opportunity went beckoning in Mumbai test against West Indies two years ago when instead of blooding young batsmen like Rohit in a dead rubber match in home conditions, they opted to give Dravid and Laxman an extended him despite both of them scoring ton’s in the previous Test match. The decision was even more baffling because India rested Umesh Yadav just to blood another young bowler in Varun Aaron.

For the next couple of months Sharma spent most of time facing tired net bowlers in Australia and watching the legends of Indian batting fail miserably.   On the same tour of Australia, his arch-rival, Virat Kohli learned the value and the effort required to score each run in Test cricket in the most demanding conditions against a confronting opposition.  Even in the final Test of the Australian series with India down 3 ”“ 0, the selectors decided to stick with Laxman and deny him the chance of learning the durability, hardiness and toughness of Test Cricket.

To his credit Rohit has gone back and worked hard on his game which has allowed him to regalvanise his career as an ODI opener.   The improvements in his technique are apparent. He now stands more upright at the crease and the back foot goes across his off stump.   The bat which used to come from 2nd slip now comes more from the line of 1st slip, allowing him to play a lot straighter.   Importantly, he has learned to build his innings. During the Champions Trophy the most stand feature of his batting was the way he left the ball outside off stump.

The modification to his technique has permitted Sharma to play the moving ball more effectively. He has always looked at ease against pace and plays the short ball as well as any of his colleagues.   Even throughout the ODI series, rarely has Sharma been rattled by the pace of the Johnson.   To sum it up Rohit has tightened up his defence which has enabled him to be a complete batsman.   Giving him the opening has been the blessing in the sky because he has really put a price on his wicket and his first instinct has been to defend early in his innings and then flourish.

Despite having the most illustrious six months of his career in which Rohit captained the Mumabi Indians to a win, excelling as an opener in ODI in England, to win the champions trophy and now the man of the series after his record breaking double hundred, Sharma still declared playing for India was the ultimate goal.

“Absolutely it is my goal to play Test cricket, I have been waiting for the opportunity for six years now and if it happens, I will be the happiest person in this world”.

In space of six months Rohit Sharma has brushed aside all the negativity to take his game to a new level.   Rohit is still only 25, an age many experts believe is the right age to start playing Test Cricket.   The West Indies series at home will allow him to settle just like Kohli did couple of years back. But after that the tour of South Africa will be the genuine Test. A similar opening escaped his grasp two years back. This time around though he will be ready to attempt to score runs against a quality line up whether he fails or succeeds it will be the start of the new beginning.

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