Rohit Sharma has become gargantuan in limited overs cricket and he's on a record-breaking mission. He makes batting look ridiculously easy due to his amazing hand and eye coordination, timing and bat speed.
Rohit has now mastered the art of constructing an innings and building massive partnerships. He takes his time at the start assessing the nature of the pitch, respecting a good spell after which he consolidates the position by building momentum through strike rotation and occasional boundaries before going ballistic towards the end overs.
He might not have the brute power of a Gayle or the audacity of an AB De Villers, but he makes six hitting look beautiful. However, Rohit has not done justice to his talent in the longest format. He started on a good note scoring 177 and 111 from his first two Tests, but it soon fell apart when India started touring overseas.
He struggled against raw pace in South Africa in 2013 and found it difficult to handle the moving ball in England during the 2014 tour. He was given another opportunity in Australia in 2014, but he failed to make an impression. All he could manage was a half-century in Sydney.
Inconsistency in Test cricket made him an irregular member of the side, but team management would select on the basis of his potential. Ian Chappel once mentioned that Rohit could be a good fit at number 3, which would make him come out of Virat Kohli's shadow and play his natural game.
Sunil Gavaskar sighted Rohit never found the right tempo in Test cricket. But there is always a feeling that he will come good, which led to him getting selected in the Test squad to Australia in 2018. This has attracted a fair share of criticism as Karun Nair did not get many opportunities and was omitted from the squad in favour of Rohit Sharma.
Whether this decision will be a successful one or a catastrophe, only time will tell. But there are a few parameters which will help him to succeed in Australia if he gets selected in the playing eleven.
#1 Backfoot play
Bred on Indian pitches, it is quite obvious Rohit Sharma has a good front foot game. It must be noted that he played all his cricket on pitches which were made out of red soil in Mumbai, which usually produces a wicket with true bounce and good carry.
This develops the back foot game which has been evident in some of the greats Mumbai has produced. Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Rahane have all been successful in Australia as they could play the back of the length deliveries with utmost ease.
Rohit Sharma is very good at playing the square cut, the pull and the hook. This will help him to succeed against the back of the length delivery and also in handling the bumper which the Aussies famously call as "Chin Music".
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins usually hit the pitch hard to extract the bounce and bowl a lot of short stuff at over 150 clicks. They terrorized England last year in the Ashes by peppering the batsmen with short deliveries.
Rohit possesses a good record in Australia in the ODI's and T20's and his ability to play the short stuff will keep him in good stead against the rising ball.
#2 Lack of swing and minimal seam movement
Kookaburra ball which is used in Australia softens up after 15 overs, and this will negate any kind of lateral movement that may happen. The ball usually doesn't swing throughout the day, as it does in England. The Australian summers are pretty hot which usually dries up the moisture in the pitch after the first session and the wicket becomes a belter for batting.
Since Rohit doesn't open the innings in Test cricket and usually slots in at numbers 5 or 6, he shouldn't worry about playing the new ball. He can be vulnerable to swing bowling which was evident when he played against South Africa early this year when Vernon Philander troubled him with inward movement off the pitch.
Apart from Josh Hazelwood, who pitches it up and looks for swing, Cummins and Starc's natural length is the back of the length which is no doubt challenging, but definitely not as difficult as playing a James Anderson or a Stuart Broad on a gloomy morning on a green seamer in England.
Rohit Sharma can handle the short stuff as he has a technique that supports him compared to swing bowling which he finds it difficult.
#3 Ability to play with the Tail
Rohit Sharma has played a lot of First-class cricket where he has scored a triple hundred and averages more than 55. He has the experience and maturity to bat in different situations. Since Rohit will play in the middle order, he will have to bat with the lower middle order and the tail. Rohit, as well all know can be devastating against the quickies and spinners.
Rohit has a good record of batting with the tail as he did in his first couple of Test matches with India. He has this unique ability to hit some towering sixes and even though Australian grounds are big, it isn't big enough to stop a Rohit Sharma six sailing into the stands.
Nowadays Test matches are decided by vital lower order runs. Sam Curran demonstrated this against India when he made some useful contributions down the order.
Rohit should be allowed to play his natural game against the Australian bowlers. If the situation demands, where he may have to go after the bowling, he'll surely do that considering his experience in the limited overs formats.