Not long ago, Rohit Sharma was the toast of the cricketing world, having smashed the record score of 264 in a one-day match against Sri Lanka at the historic Eden Gardens. The unbelievable knock not only gave Rohit the tag of being the player with the highest individual one-day score, but he also became the first batsman to score two double hundreds in one-day internationals. It was a massive achievement without doubt. But, in cricket, as in life, it doesn't take long for fortunes to change. And Rohit, as of now, is under heavy criticism for not being able to deliver in the three knocks in Australia so far. He has been getting starts, but has been giving his wicket away rather easily.
The fact that Rohit has got his eye in, and has looked at reasonable ease out in the middle, but for the second innings at Adelaide, when the ball was bouncing and jumping, has been a comforting sight for the Indians. But, even more disappointing has been the fact that he has failed to put a value on his wicket. In the first innings at Adelaide, Rohit departed after crossing 40, and in the first essay at Brisbane, he managed to cross 30 before losing his wicket. It wouldn't be wrong to say that he has been wasting some precious opportunities to get big scores. It is still early days in his Test career, but he needs to prove that he has the urge to score big.
Rohit has every right to believe that his Test opportunity came much later than he deserved. He made his international debut in 2007, and it was another six years before he eventually played a Test for India. However, for someone who has had to wait so long for his chances, he so far hasn't shown the hunger to make up for lost time. It is imperative thus that when Rohit gets his eye in, he converts it into a significant score, for failures are always round the corner in international cricket. It is always difficult to score in the fourth innings of a Test, as Rohit found out at Adelaide. This is all the more reason, why he needs to carry on and justify his selection.
Batting at number six, Rohit has a very important role to play in the team. He is the link between the middle order and the tail with only wicket-keeper MS Dhoni after him. In such a situation, he ideally needs to shepherd the tail along, and get some important runs for the side. This is what VVS Laxman did do fantastically well right through his career. Like Laxman, Rohit is also an elegant player, who is wonderful to watch when in full flow. At the same time, like Laxman, he needs to put a price tag on his wicket. He has the talent and the technique without doubt. His problem possibly is the game seems too easy to him, like it does for exceptional talents.
Rohit had a magnificent start to his Test career in India, when he scored back to back hundreds in his first two Tests. He has played a few Tests since, but has only managed a solitary half-century. India cannot afford such lacklustre efforts from their number six, for it is majorly affecting the team's fortunes. The management must let him know that they have Suresh Raina waiting in the wings in case he continues to disappoint. Rohit may have smashed two fantastic double hundreds in one-day cricket, which will go a long way in a making him a legendary one-day player. But, if he wants to be remembered as a complete batsman, he will have to deliver in conditions like Australia and New Zealand in Tests. Period.
--By A Cricket Analyst