Rohit makes a strong statement

31 May 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in Micromax Triangular Series 2010

Rohit SharmaWhen India embarked on the Zimbabwean sojourn with a new look side, it was clear that their aim was to test out the bench strength in the team. And, while the opening game against Zimbabwe turned out to be a disaster, Rohit Sharma’s well-compiled century did stand out as a glimmer of hope amidst the ruins for the Indian side.

And, after tasting defeat against the minnows, his match-winning ton against Sri Lanka was equally impressive. Though there were moments of impetuousness, Rohit did well to ride his luck and come up trumps. The fact that his preceding ton was in a losing cause made this innings all the more special.

There was never been any doubt with regards to his talent. However, he has often been unfair to his promise over the last couple of years. True, he has a right to feel that he has been let down by the selectors on occasions.

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Despite this, one has to believe that he has been given enough opportunities in the past to prove his mettle. One constant criticism of him has been his inability of cross the 20s and 30s. In this context, the consecutive tons in the tournament should make him a lot more confident of crossing the ‘cameo’ barrier in the future.

Rohit can take inspiration from the youngster who was at the other end during their match-winning partnership – Virat Kohli. Till not too long ago, Kohli was also consistently falling after getting starts and looking well-set.

However, once he registered his maiden ODI ton last year, there has been no looking back for him. Kohli has been consistently notching up significant scores. His latest effort, in partnership with Rohit, was proof of his ever-improving maturity.

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Even when Rohit was getting impetuous, Kohli remained calm and gave India a Dravid-like assurance, if one can take the liberty to say so.

To put things into perspective, Rohit’s centuries have come against two relatively weak attacks. And so, he needs to remain consistent against the serious teams as well in the times to come. Still the amount of time he has spent on the crease should only do him plenty of good.

But, amidst the accolades Rohit shouldn’t forget that there is one department in which he needs to make a remarkable improvement, and nothing less. That is the fitness aspect of his game.

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He has put on too many extra kilos in the recent months and looks worse than a retired cricketer. Rohit needs to understand that the days of Arjuna Ranatunga and David Boom are long over. With so much one-day and T20 cricket being played these days, a team cannot afford a liability in the form of an overweight cricketer.

After all, fielding has become an equally important aspect of the game now, on par with batting and bowling. By no means is one expecting Rohit to turn into a Suresh Raina, however he cannot expect to remain a certainty in the team unless he works on the one aspect often underestimated in Indian cricket.

India have often had to pay the price for their lethargic fielding, so it is somewhat surprising that they still aren’t working on it diligently.

If Rohit is able to overcome these couple of shortcomings that exist in his game and remains mentally strong, there is little to stop his from achieving greater heights in international cricket.

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