By Dhananjay Devasper
In the past two weeks, there have been a few articles written by eminent sportswriters on how Rohit Sharma needs to justify his inclusion in the Indian One-Day International (ODI) side. With all due respect to them, he is the last player who needs to justify anything as far as the shorter format of the game is concerned. The team management has made enough gaffes in managing such a talented player and the last thing he needs is this additional pressure. In the current series, he has looked extremely comfortable against any kind of bowling, and his batting reminds one of David Gower. There’s a kind of lazy elegance his strokeplay which used to personify the Englishman’s batting.
As far as his track record is concerned, Rohit Sharma is statistically the best player for India in ODIs currently. He averages 64.10 in 15 games since the World Cup. And that is why one has to agree with Ravi Shastri, when he mentioned that he was shocked when Mahendra Singh Dhoni said, “The rotation policy is such that we give enough games to Rohit Sharma”. Excuse me! For a guy who averages over 75 at the start of the series and who is your best cricketer in this format, he walks into your side, rotation or no rotation. And to quote Shastri, “Someone else makes way.”
And why is there no mention of Suresh Raina who has not performed well since the World Cup or Virender Sehwag, for that matter, who seems to be in wretched form of late. The only complaint against Rohit could be that he tends to get out rather foolishly when set. He seems to be developing Gautam Gambhir’s habit of allowing a huge momentum shift back to the opponents, when the game is well and truly in India’s control. It is this lazy or languid attitude that could make the difference when one’s head is on the chopping block.
Even during the Test series, when things were not going well, it was shocking to see that the team management was reluctant to give him an opportunity. The refusal to change and take a chance on Rohit, resulted in Team India’s abject surrender of the Test series. While India may not have won the series with Rohit’s inclusion, the overall effort would have looked much better, rather than the spineless display of batting that was on display in the tests. If one has to look to the future, it might be better to take a chance on Rohit and give him an extended run without the Sword of Damocles hanging on his head in every game.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an "IT guy" by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)