Figure this out. Rohit Sharma has just reached his first Test fifty since the New Zealand series. First things first, he was lucky to get back into the side after missing out at Melbourne. Rohit was a rather surprise choice after he gave away two starts in the first two Tests, falling to lazy strokes. At Sydney, he was sent in at number three, replacing the once prolific Cheteshwar Pujara. He his playing for his place in the team. Rohit walks in, in the first over as World Cup discard Murali Vijay falls for a duck. He does all the hard work, gets to his half-century, and is bowled going for a premeditated sweep.
If you look at Rohit's performance in the series, he has got a 30, a 40 and now a fifty. In between, he has registered two low scores. Going by that trend, he is bound to get out cheaply in the second game, provided he gets a hit, unless of course he gets his act together, and comes up with a doughty knock. Rohit had a great chance to convert the fifty into a hundred. Remember, it was the third day Sydney wicket, which means it was the best day for batting. Rohit had done all the slog work the previous evening. All he had to do was bat sensibly. But, he didn't, and threw away yet another fantastic opportunity to leave his mark on the Test series.
It can be argued that Rohit had attacked Nathan Lyon the previous day as well, and successfully so. Perhaps, attacking against spinners is the best mode of defence for Rohit. So be it, but the kind of shot he played to get out was exasperating. Even while being attacking, a batsman has to ensure that he plays the ball according to merit. This is where Rohit has often been found out. On a standalone basis, his half-century at Sydney was a reasonably good one. He looked in control out in the middle. But, India still needed Rohit out in the middle as they were chasing a massive Aussie score. He should have carried on.
What has been most disappointing about Rohit's career over and over again has been the fact that he has given his wicket away at a time when the team has needed him to stay put. The fact that he constantly gets out after getting starts begs on to ask the question as to whether he lacks the temperament needed to get the big scores in Test cricket. Of course, he got two massive hundreds in his first two Tests, but it must be taken into account that those came against the weak West Indies bowling at home. Away from home, he has clearly failed to stand up to the challenge. He has looked the part in phases, but overall he continues to remain a disappointment.
It is no secret that Rohit has the potential to succeed in Test cricket. He possesses the technique to survive on testing surfaces. But, it is his mindset which he needs to work on. It is said that players who are naturally talented get bored easily. The same was often said about the likes of Mark Waugh and David Gower. But, that never stopped them from getting big hundreds even though they sometimes got out in inexplicable manners. Rohit must realise that while he has the talent to do well in the five-day format, but success will not come as easily to him in Tests as it has in ODIs and T20s.
--By A Cricket Analyst