It has always been too early to criticise the talented Rohit Sharma. More time be given — the selectors have said. And so, more and more opportunities were given until the talent finally shone through in the 2013-14 ODI series against Australia at home. Rohit Sharma became only the third double-centurion in ODI history (after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag) in the last (the seventh) match of the ODI series against Australia. He recently scored another double century (a stunning 264 runs against Sri Lanka at home, the highest individual score in ODI so far).
Overall also, he had a good time with the bat: scoring 579 runs in the 9 matches played during that time (6 against Australia and 3 against the touring West Indies team), at an incredible average of 82.71. The nice patch continued with the following Test series against West Indies in India (it was more memorable for being Sachin Tendulkar’s last Test series), with Sharma scoring a century in his debut Test. Everybody thought that talent is finally getting showcased on the biggest stage of all.
But then it struck, and struck harsh — be it lack of inexperience or another instance when the talent was just not getting radiated, Rohit Sharma failed in the following Test series. In New Zealand, South Africa, England and now even in the first Test match in Australia, Rohit Sharma has simply not delivered. The kind of lazy elegance with which he pulls out those eye-catching shots may be fine in India, but were just not paying off outside.
For the ones interested in the data, here is the chart so far:
Summarised, this tells that he has played 12 innings away from Asian conditions so far (unbeaten in one inning), and has scored a paltry 250 runs at an average of 22.72! This is just too less for a batsman whose credibility is scoring two double hundreds in ODIs!
It seems that the lack of determination to score and concentration have been primarily responsible for the failure of Rohit in away conditions. Sure, there is the added pressure of a youngster playing in away conditions. But with the amount of chances he has got in the international level, he was expected to deliver once being selected to play in the ultimate format. What is talent if you can’t get anything out of it? Only one half-century in 12 innings is a very poor performance indeed. Even in the batting friendly conditions at Adelaide some days earlier, he failed to make inroads despite getting a start. In the second innings, a handy knock may have ensured India’s victory, opposite captain Kohli who went on to score a brilliant ton.
Either he needs to score big time from the Brisbane Test onwards, or further serious questions will be raised against Rohit Sharma’s credentials to play at the highest level. Unlike his team-mates Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, he has failed to make good use of his chances.
He has the backing, the support of everybody including the captain MS Dhoni. What now? He just needs to deliver, to do justice to his bank of talent. It’s what the Indian team requires right now.