-By the Bayside Desk.
The Mumbai batsman has gotten into the bad habit of throwing away his wicket after a good night’s sleep
It’s the same old story over and over again. Rohit Sharma looks set for a big score at the end of a day’s play in Tests. The next day, he’s back in the pavilion within an hour of play after he’s thrown away yet another chance to convert his previous day’s score into a biggie.
This Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground was his last chance to shine in this Test tour. The wicket was brilliant for batting and he could have gone on to score a century. Instead, he added 11 more runs to his overnight score of 40 and was out withing 20 overs of the day’s play.
He’s played ten Tests so far, batted 17 times and gotten out in this fashion in five Test matches. India has lost four matches and is currently playing the fifth one. This doesn’t mean that India lost only because of Sharma but his runs would have really helped. Considering that he bats at the number six position, he’s expected to play the role that VVS Laxman did: Keep the scoreboard ticking if there’s a set batsman at the crease or shepherd the tailenders and get as many runs as he can. He’s done neither.
Look at his scores in the four matches prior and the circumstances under which he’s got out.
February 2014, Auckland, New Zealand:
India have lost four wickets for 51 runs after New Zealand batted first and made a whopping 503. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma see off the day without further loss and Sharma is unbeaten on 67. The next day he’s out after adding five more runs. India are all out for 202 in the first innings and go on to lose the match by 40 runs.
July 2014, Southampton, England:
For the first time in the history of cricket, India are leading a Test Series in England. England hit 569 in the first innings. India respond with 330. England bat again and set India a target of 445 to get. India lose four wickets for 89 and Rahane and Sharma come together at the crease. Sharma is unbeaten on 6. Rahane and Sharma have to occupy the crease for as much time as possible for India to draw the match. Sharma has different ideas and is out without adding to his score. India lose by 266 runs.
December 2014, Adelaide, Australia:
Australia have hit 517. India are going strong in the first innings thanks to a Virat Kohli century. Sharma and Kohli are at the crease at the end of the second day with Sharma unbeaten on 32. He looks good for a century. Day 3: He’s out for 43 caught and bowled by Nathan Lyon. India concede a lead of 73 and go on to lose the match by 48 runs.
December 2014, Brisbane, Australia:
India bat first and look like they are on course for a huge total after Murali Vijay’s 144. Sharma is unbeaten on 26 at the end of the first day. All he has to do is stick around and India can really turn the screws on a tired Australian team. Instead he gets out at 32. India lose this match by 4 wickets.
This is a very worrying trend considering that he’s got out this way in four matches out of the five he’s played in 2014. It’s not as if he has tons of runs to compensate for these failures. He’s played 16 innings so far and has two centuries to his credit. Both were scored in India in his debut series against a mediocre West Indies bowling unit. In the 14 innings since, Sharma’s average is 21.69.
No one denies that Sharma oozes talent. It’s hard to call him lazy or lucky. Lazy or lucky players don’t score two double centuries in one day matches. But he’s a walking wicket for bowlers now. To use the age old cricket cliché, he needs to sort things out in his head.
He needs to figure out his game. Quickly.