As India has succumbed to a humiliating defeat at Leeds after a high at Lords. Lots of questions are being asked on the ability of this current Indian batting lineup. The middle-order from numbers 3 to 6 have struggled big time. Pujara has looked nervous and hesitant till he played an uncharacteristically aggressive innings in the 2nd innings at Leeds. Rahane these days seem to play one important innings per series ( has it already happened at Lords?) and then he goes into his shell and looks extremely fragile. Kohli in this current series has struggled massively outside off stump and is lacking strong offside backfoot play and Pant has looked out of sorts and not trusting his defence.
Only the openers have shown great courage and technique to play close to the body. KL Rahul has made a great comeback and is the only century getter for India in this series. But even he seemed to struggle at Leeds due to indecisive batting and looked over-cautious in the 2nd innings. Thereby allowed to build the pressure on himself. Something he is expected to rectify at the Oval.
However, the batsman who has looked mostly at ease in these challenging conditions is Rohit Sharma. Before this series, he had a question mark hanging on his head about his ability to handle overseas conditions. Since he has started opening for India, Rohit Sharma seems to have got a new direction in his Test career which prior to his opening, was going nowhere. What is Rohit Sharma doing well to succeed in England ?
Rohit started in his new responsibility in breathtaking fashion smashing 529 runs at 132 average vs South Africa at home. Till now he was scoring in home conditions but had struggles in overseas as a middle order batter. What is Rohit Sharma doing well to succeed in England ?
Unfortunately he could not play in the New Zealand test series of early 2020 in overseas. Due to an injury where the bowling conditions would have challenged him.
When the Australian series arrived, Rohit due to an injury arrived late in Australia and was in quarantine and hence played in the last two tests. He looked in glorious touch as an opener and looked at ease, playing sublime shots on true Australian pitches but against a lethal bowling attack. However, he could not convert his starts to substantial scores and ended the series at 129 runs and 32 average. Thus he could not get the big scores or the much-awaited overseas test hundred though batting extremely well.
It is in this current England series that Rohit Sharna showed his class and his ability to come good in overseas conditions. The batting conditions in all the 3 tests in this series so far has been challenging. But Rohit showed great patience and hunger to fight the conditions. He showed fine technique, waited for the ball instead of lunging at them. Played with soft hands and played the line of the ball and therefore any away swing. He has not edged them. He has managed 230 runs in this series so far at 46 average and has been extremely unlucky that he is yet to manage a century in this series. The way he has play, he deserves at least one or two hundreds before the series is done.
It can be said that Rohit’s outstanding success in ODI World cup in England in 2019. Where he scored 5 centuries must have given him some confidence albeit in a different format, to play in England with the red dukes ball in the current test series.
Rohit’s perhaps only undoing in this series has been his inclination to play the pull shots. Which has already got him out 3 times else a couple of hundreds had arrive by now.
However, except for his pull shots, the way he has batted can be the template. Which should be follow by the struggling members of this batting lineup specially the captain and the vice-captain.
Experts like Sunil Gavaskar , Michael Vaughan , Sanjay Manjrekar , Shaun Pollock , Ajit Agarkar , Inzamam ul Haq , Brad Hogg etc have already praised Rohit’s batting in this series. Both Vaughan and Hogg believes that Rohit will get his much-awaited first overseas test hundred in this series.
Rohit’s large number of fans are also hoping the same and are keeping their fingers crossed.