Mumbai and India batsman Rohit Sharma, fresh from a 166 and 71 against Saurashtra, is pleading the selectors to give him a chance to represent India in Test cricket after a successful Ranji Trophy campaign so far.
Rohit has scored one double century and two tons in the last one month on the Ranji circuit and also captained Mumbai in the absence of the injured Ajit Agarkar against Bengal.
With 85 One-Day International (ODI) and 32 Twenty20 International (T20I) caps since his debut for India blue in 2007, the 25-year-old Rohit is hoping that he gets a chance to don the all-whites soon, with an overhaul of the Indian Test team on the anvil.
“I’m happy with the way things have gone so far but at the same time I’m disappointed that I’ve repeatedly missed out on a Test berth,” Rohit was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
“I’ve been in the reckoning and on the fringes for the last three years but somehow I’m yet to get a game in the longer format for India. I was picked for the Test series against West Indies at home and the one in Australia, but I didn’t get a single opportunity. I got dropped for no reason that I can think of,” he said.
Rohit feels that he has performed consistently at the domestic and international level to warrant a Test cap. With a successful start to the 2012 Ranji campaign, he wants to be given a chance to prove himself in the longer format for India.
“What bothers me is that I have been playing Ranji Trophy for the past seven years and have scored consistently throughout. I have played 85 ODIs already, and it’s been six years almost since I began playing international cricket, but the Test debut has continued to elude me. I have averaged 60 plus in domestic cricket almost every year and have displayed the right temperament required for the longer format. What I’m saying is at least give me a chance to fail,” he said.
Even though Rohit has figured regularly in both limited overs formats for Team India, Test cricket is the ultimate high according to him.
“You can’t compare ODIs with Test cricket. Ask any player in this country and they will tell you that Tests are the ultimate thing. But I’m yet to get a feel of it.
Rohit spoke of the time he almost got his Test debut against South Africa in Nagpur two years ago, but missed out due to an injury at the eleventh hour.
“Twice I’ve watched a Test match from the boundary-line. Who knows how different my life could have been if only I hadn’t ended up twisting my ankle in Nagpur prior to that Test match against South Africa,” he said.
Rohit added that he has the right temperament to play the five-day game and is confident of proving himself to the selectors if given a Test debut.
“I have been regularly scoring for Mumbai in the Ranji circuit. I am very attuned with playing 200-250 balls in one innings. If I can make the most of the extensive experience I’ve gained from playing both international and domestic cricket, then it should hold me in good stead,” he said.
Talking of his recent slump in the limited overs format in Sri Lanka — Rohit had scores of 5, 0, 0, 4 and 4 in the ODI series and the solitary unbeaten 55 to boast of in the T20 World Cup — he revealed that he went to Sachin Tendulkar for advice on how to tweak his game.
“I called Sachin (Tendulkar) and spoke to him. He said that technically I didn’t have any problem except that my leg was coming down from the direction of the covers instead of mid-off. And as a result, I was getting locked up in my stance while playing any shot.
“Sachin also comforted me by recalling the many slumps he’s suffered during his long career. He insisted that I keep enjoying my cricket. In Sri Lanka I was frustrated as though I was doing everything right the results weren’t going my way.
“Coach (Duncan) Fletcher told me that these low scores can’t make me a bad player. The problem was that I had never seen such a slump earlier in my life.”
When confronted about his image of being arrogant and lazy, Rohit said, “Cricket is all about self-belief. People will say I’m lazy, and that I have too much of an attitude problem. If that is the case then I would like them to point out any time I’ve misfielded or dropped a catch.”
First Published: December 19, 2012, 10:07 am