The top gear to India’s Ferrari: Opener Rohit Sharma makes solid 1st impression
Rohit Sharma has passed the red-ball test with flying colours
Rohit scored 529 runs in 3 matches in his maiden series as Test opener
Rohit – different plane altogether: Ravi Shastri said after India’s Ranchi Test win
Rohit Sharma is arguably the best white-ball batsman of this generation. Not many terrorise oppositions like he does with his hunger for runs. Not many score daddy hundreds as consistently as he does in limited-overs cricket. Not many, in fact, no one has scored 5 hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup.
When you see him bat, when you see at press conferences or when you see him in tense Indian Premier League finals, one striking feature in his approach is his uncluttered mind. Rohit looks like someone who has it all sorted in his head.
And that’s why when Rohit Sharma played a paddle sweep to find the short fine-leg fielder or danced down the track only to hit one straight into the throat of the long-on fielder in red-ball cricket, there was an unexplainable feeling of something more than disappointment.
For a man who plans and executes his daddy hundreds to perfection in limited-overs cricket, Rohit Sharma’s inability to make full use of the “talent” he possesses in Tests had always remained an enigma.
While batting at No. 6 for India in the past, Rohit Sharma averaged 54.57. Not bad, eh? However, he managed only 9 fifty-plus scores in 25 innings at the spot. Not that Rohit Sharma struggled to put bat to ball in Test cricket but his inability to provide the much-needed solidity to the middle-order was seen as a cause for concern.
Very assertive and clinical, that’s how I would like to put it across this entire month. Extremely happy to be part of incredible Indian team @BCCI
Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) October 22, 2019
There was a lot of chatter in the lead up to the 3-match Test series against South Africa. It was decided that Rohit Sharma would open the batting alongside Mayank Agarwal. Despite India not being able to find a reliable opening pair for quite some time, the South Africa series was touted as Rohit’s final chance to save his Test career.
With the likes of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failing to impress, and Prithvi Shaw being unavailable for selection, the team management had the license to take the gamble.
And it paid off! Rohit Sharma repaid the faith the team management showed in him. 3 Tests, 529 runs, 2 hundreds and a double hundred in his 1st Test series as opener.
200 @ImRo45 you beauty pic.twitter.com/FDMXsjlwcr
BCCI (@BCCI) October 20, 2019
There were signs of what was to come as early as the 1st Test in Visakhapatnam. The scorecard wouldn’t tell you how well Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander bowled in the 1st session of the 1st day morning. The scorecard certainly wouldn’t tell you how Rohit Sharma was prepared to get beaten, look ugly and more importantly, resist the temptation of throwing his bat at the red cherry.
More than than 529 runs that Rohit Sharma scored, the manner in which he adapted to different situations in his maiden outing as opener in red-ball cricket would have given the dressing room a lot of confidence.
Rohit was prepared to give the 1st hour to the opposition pacers. When the situation demanded, like in the 2nd innings in Vizag, Rohit switched on the limited-overs mode and smashed 127 runs in 149 balls. When he had the time, he made sure it was not just a hundred but a daddy double hundred.
2000 Test runs
Hitman @ImRo45 pic.twitter.com/3WRePPZp3k
BCCI (@BCCI) October 19, 2019
“I wouldn’t want to see Rohit Sharma any time soon if I were a South African spinner,” quipped Graeme Smith on air. It was indeed a delight to see him hit the spinners out of attack every time when they came on looking to make inroads.
Rohit Sharma’s uncluttered mind was also at work, this time in whites.He was not made to wait. He just wore his pads, went out to open the batting and made the spot his own.
“I kept telling myself I want to be there, I want to get a big score and take my team to a good position,” Rohit Sharma said after the double hundred in Ranchi.
In fact, Rohit Sharma made opening batting look that easy.
Virat Kohli was elated with his new-found opener’s exploits. More importantly, he is happy he has finally found someone who would do what Virender Sehwag did — give the team extra hour or two to bowl out oppositions by scoring at a healthy pace whenever needed.
“Rohit – different plane altogether,” Ravi Shastri said. None could have put it better.