How long can 'talented' Rohit Sharma survive in the Indian team?

Suyash Srivastava

One of the biggest mysteries of world cricket is yet to be solved. No, I am not talking about why Rahul Dravid abruptly declared the innings when Tendulkar was batting on 194* in Multan Test (2004), but what makes Rohit Sharma an inseparable part of the Indian cricket team despite his consistent failures?

The T20 World Cup squad has been announced and it’s good news for Rohit Sharma once again. His name is in the cut-off list without excelling in his recent exams. The selectors have once again showed immense faith in the ‘talented’ right-hander who has of late scored less runs than the tail-enders of the Indian cricket team.

While he has hardly impressed with the bat in the ODIs, his form in the Indian Premier League wasn’t that good either. The few matches he won for his side were because of the fact that the opponents were kind enough to drop chances that came off his bat, and had they been taken, it would have been difficult for the selectors not to bid farewell to the ‘talented’ Mumbaikar.

From Virat Kohli to Sachin Tendulkar, from Gautam Gambhir to the skipper himself, Sharma has been hailed for his enormous ‘talent’ by one and all. Veteran Indian commentators Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar have expressed their views on multiple occasions as to how the right-hander inspite of being ‘talented’ hadn’t been able to grab the opportunities that came his way.

Recently in one of the interviews, the ever reliable Gautam Gambhir said that Sharma is batting extremely well at the nets. Keeping his current form in mind, one can’t help wondering if that is exactly the place where he should be batting at. He has not only wasted ample opportunities in the last few months, but has become a burden for a team which has been relying on players like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni to take them through when the going gets tough.

Sharma scored plenty of runs in the previous editions of the Indian Premier League but he clearly lacked rhythm in 2012. Even though he took his side to some thrilling victories, his innings weren’t flawless. He became the hero when he smashed Daniel Christian for a last-ball six but that was hit off a full-toss and the opponents gave him at least half a dozen chances to become the hero in that particular match in the IPL.

Rohit Sharma made his debut way back in 2007 against Ireland and in the 85 ODIs that he has played since then, he has just two centuries to his name. His last five ODI innings have produced disappointing scores – 5, 0, 0, 4 and 4.

With his poor form, one cannot help but compare him to the incredible Virat Kohli. Kohli during his early days was not considered to be as talented as Rohit but he put in loads of hard-work, which has paid off exceptionally well. No matter at which number he bats, Virat takes his chances only after hitting some deliveries from the middle of his bat unlike Sharma who doesn’t mind attempting a flashy stroke right from the first ball.

Sharma is a very elegant batsman to watch when he is in-form. But unfortunately his body language has dropped like his form and despite the immense support and confidence shown by his peers and management, the 25-year-old hasn’t managed to get back into the rhythm. Sharma was hailed as being gifted with the ‘extra half a second’ timing compared to other batsmen but nothing has worked for him over the last few months.

Top-notch columnists have begun to write Sharma’s obituary. The turning pitches during the T20 World Cup may just as well be the turning point of Rohit Sharma’s career. This is the last chance for him to prove his mettle. Else he might end up writing a book titled ‘100 ways of wasting phenomenal talent’ which is likely to become a bestseller with his personal experiences in plenty.

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