Rohit Sharma 2.0 gears up for the ultimate challenge
Hitman Rohit Sharma is one of the greatest batsmen in limited-overs cricket. His exploits in the shorter format even outclass the masterclass of Run Machine Virat Kohli. Besides, Rohit has also scaled heights in Test cricket after getting promoted as an opener. Perhaps the upcoming UK tour will be his toughest challenge in the whites till now. Let us analyze the same.
Rohit solidifies India's top-order in Tests
The promotion of Rohit as an opener in Test cricket has changed the dynamics of India's batting line-up. Team India missed his services on the 2019/20 New Zealand tour as he was out with injury. However, his experience and guile will certainly bolster India's top-order in the ICC World Test Championship final against the Kiwis, and the England Test series.
Rohit has fared well of late
Rohit has been in terrific touch in the Test format of late. He gave India solid starts Down Under, having registered scores of 26, 52, 44, and 7. Rohit was even better against England at home. He finished as India's leading run-scorer, having amassed 345 runs at 57.50. This included a marathon knock of 161 (231) on Chennai's tricky surface.
Rohit's contribution in winning cause (as an opener)
With Rohit at the top, India have won nine out of 11 Tests (Lost: 1, Drawn: 1). In the matches won by India during this period, Rohit aggregated 934 runs at a phenomenal average of 77.83. The tally includes 4 tons and 1 double-ton.
He has been working on his technique
The recent transition in Rohit's technique can easily be spotted. Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, in his column for Hindustan Times, pointed out that Rohit plays the ball closer to the body now. While his feet movement has improved, he tends the play more patiently. In his last Test innings (vs England), Rohit played as many as 144 deliveries before he departed on 49.
Rohit will have to move out of his comfort zone
Recently, Rohit has played in the conditions that rather suit his gameplay. In Australia, he was able to get on top of the bounce, while he meticulously dealt with spin back home. However, the conditions in England will compel him to move out of his comfort zone. Although the pitches have become flatter there, he will certainly be tested with the initial swing.
A look at his numbers in England
The limited-overs numbers of Rohit in England grab eyeballs. In 24 ODIs, he has smashed 1,335 runs at a prolific average of 66.75. He owns 7 hundreds and 6 fifties in the format. Rohit also has a T20I ton in England, having aggregated 269 runs at 38.42. Interestingly, he has played only one Test in the nation in his career (34 runs).
Rohit averages over 50 at The Rose Bowl
It is interesting to note that Rohit averages over 50 (52.33) in international cricket at The Rose Bowl (Southampton), which is the venue for WTC final. He slammed a hundred against South Africa (122*) in the 2019 World Cup here.
Rohit to be wary of Trent Boult and Tim Southee
Rohit has been under the scanner when it comes to facing left-arm seamers. He gets cramped up with the ball that comes in. New Zealand pace spearhead Trent Boult would want to exploit this particular weakness of Rohit in the WTC final. Boult has dismissed Rohit seven times in international cricket. Moreover, Tim Southee has uprooted Rohit as many as nine times across formats.