India opener Rohit Sharma became the third batsman to reach the 200-run mark in One-Day Internationals (ODI) when he scored 209 against Australia at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. During the course of the innings he also struck 16 sixes, a world record, surpassing Shane Watson’s 15 hits beyond the fence against Bangladesh in 2011. Aayush Puthran feels a lot more remains due from Rohit Sharma’s willow before he becomes a part of cricketing folklore.
Every protagonist needs a strong antagonist to make him look like a superhero. For Rohit Sharma, neither the pitch at the M Chinnawamy Stadium nor the Australian bowling line-up provided enough evil. For long, the Indian opener was his own devil. And the double century against Australia in the seventh One-Day International (ODI) has made him stand against his own deeds of the past for good.
The occasion at Bangalore needed a showcase of magnanimity, for a century wouldn’t have been enough for the Mumbai batsman to kill his ‘mocking-birds’.
The knock of 209 puts a lot of things in perspective. It wasn’t that he had finally done justice to his ability or the faith bestowed on him for more than six years. He surpassed the 1,000-run mark in 2013 during the course of the knock. So there was some amount of consistency and form as he came into the match. Then why is there bewilderment and excitement about him blazing away like this? Would it be the same had a Virat Kohli or a Shikhar Dhawan managed to play a knock of this tune? Probably not. For, the Mumbai batsman has left a lot unscaled, a lot still deserving his class and the endless ability bestowed on him naturally.
To say that the pitch was flat, would be to undermine the quality of batting that was on display. If not, what result befits that kind of stroke play?
He needed an innings of this scale to announce himself as a classy batsman, there to stay at the top level for good quality cricket and not merely potential that is on the verge of coming out of its shell anytime. To not simply be a name in the line-up, but someone who sends shivers through the opposition ranks.
Much unlike any other player in the team, he has piggybacked on his exceptional skill-sets for a longer period than one would have expected. Maybe this knock too, like all his other substantial innings of past hasn’t come under testing circumstances. However, he can do good to devour on the success for a while, silence the critics and move on.
What he cannot afford is, to rest on the laurels. When Sachin Tendulkar had scored a double century, there was novelty, but it was just a deserving perk to a glorious career. Virender Sehwag too had made a place for himself in cricketing history, well before he could bludgeon the West Indian bowlers to become the second player to enter the league. It’s not the same for Rohit. He has many a hurdled miles still to cross before he can sit back to relax on the achievements that were destined to meet his richly bestowed talent. There are still many a tales ought to be scripted from his bat before he becomes a part of cricketing fairytale.
(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)