Rohit needs to deliver

Mumbaikar has to repose the think-tanks faith

Rohit needs to deliver

During the course of the T20 matches against England, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly made a telling comment about Rohit Sharma following a glowing remark by former player-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.

“It’s no good looking like Amitabh Bachchan, and not act like him,” he said, referring to Rohit’s continued poor run in internationals and the team management’s persistence with the Mumbaikar. Of course, no one can question the right-hander’s talent.

When in flow, no youngster in the side can match his fluid grace and his ability to take the attacks apart. But where the likes of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara (in Tests) have stolen the march over Rohit with stirring performances,the 25-year-old has more often than not failed to put up any meaningful display.

Even as Manoj Tiwary made every single opportunity he got count with impressive shows, the Bengal batsman was repeatedly kept out in favour of Rohit, who did little to justify the unflinching faith reposed in him. There is no doubt that MS Dhoni is a big fan of Rohit, not just because of his yet-to-materialise talent but for his attitude as well.

 “I like his attitude,” the Indian skipper had said during the World T20 last year while defending his decision to give a long rope to the struggling youngster. “When he steps into bat, he doesn’t have enough deliveries to face but he still thinks about the team, about scoring big runs for the team. He doesn’t think about playing it safe, getting the singles and securing his place in the team.”

That might be true so far as the T20 format is concerned but he has had enough time to prove his worth in the one-dayers. The Mumbai batsman has scored just one half-century in his last 15 ODI outings and the sequence for the last six innings is a poor 5, 0, 0, 4, 4, 4.

Someone like Ajinkya Rahane, who did his cause no harm at all in the T20s he played against England and Pakistan while filling in for Virender Sehwag, would be wondering what else he needs to do to earn his place in the playing 11. Scores of 42 and 28 (against Pakistan) at the top of the order may not appear hugely impressive, but there was enough promise in the two innings he played. Rohit, on the other hand, came up up 4 n.o. and 4 in the same matches.

The return of Sehwag to the one-dayers  saw Rahane being evicted from the final 11. Neither Sehwag nor Rohit justified the move to exclude the 24-year-old. While the Delhi opener had to be picked, there was a case for Rahane to be considered for the opening one-dayer against Pakistan in place of Rohit.

“When a senior player like Virender Sehwag comes into the side, when he is specially picked for the series, he needs to get the go-ahead,” reasoned Dhoni when asked if Rahane could have been given a chance. “That’s the main reason. Of course, it is easy to say because he hasn’t scored. But Jinks (Rahane) will get his chance but he will have wait for it. Right now there are two openers who are playing, who have consistently opened for us. Definitely he will get a chance,” he noted.

To be fair to Rohit, he has produced big runs in domestic cricket whenever he has been sidelined from the national squad. This season alone, he has notched up three hundreds, including a double ton. There seems to be little doubt about his work ethic, but somehow he has not managed to replicate his domestic success at the highest level.

While it’s good to back the youngsters and give them the required confidence, care should be taken to ensure that the other performing players, themselves youngsters, aren’t left disheartened.

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