There has been a lot of criticism of Rohit Sharma after he 'threw away’ his wicket to Nathan Lyon during the opening day of the first Test between Australia and India at Adelaide. One of the commentators termed his dismissal as ‘an absolute stinker’.
But what is being forgotten at the moment is that Rohit is making a comeback to the Test side and is under some pressure to perform. When he came into bat much earlier than expected in the 21st over itself, India had already lost four of its top order batsmen and had scored just 41 runs.
Cheteshwar Pujara was batting relatively solidly at the other end. But the number three stalwart slowed down as he saw his partners departing in a quick procession. The bowlers were looking menacing and though the pitch was not especially dangerous to bat, it was giving enough assistance to both seam and spin. The Australian bowlers were pumped up.
It is too easy to say that Rohit should have buckled up and played more responsibly. This article is not intended at justifying the particular shot from the right-hander that led to his dismissal. But that shot should not be seen in isolation. It has to be contextualised in the overall scheme of how his entire innings panned out.
— 7 Cricket (@7Cricket) December 6, 2018
11 years into international cricket & Rohit Sharma gets out playing a shot like that. Absolutely zero cricketing sense #AUSvIND— Thand Lag Rahi Hai (@micky864) December 6, 2018
It is impractical to expect Rohit to play like Pujara. He is a naturally attacking batsman, and has more scoring shots at his disposal than the Saurashtra batsman. He looked to be positive throughout his innings.
Rohit did not want to miss any scoring opportunities. His horizontal shots against the pace bowlers for sixes were a treat to watch as was him taking the game to an accomplished spinner like Lyon. He had scored 37 runs off just 60 balls just before his dismissal.
During the ball before he got out to Lyon, he had attempted a six and had just managed to clear the fence. In the limited-overs formats, Rohit has made it a habit of depositing such balls in the stands.
He was relatively settled at that time and was confident of dominating the off-spinner. He targeted the relatively short boundary at the square and must have been very confident of depositing it in the crowd. But Lyon shortened the length a bit and Rohit went through with the shot believing that he could still clear the fence.
Some criticism of Rohit for his dismissal is justified. But he merely attempted to replicate the template that has led to so much success for him in the white-ball formats. And it is pertinent to note that he was not being reckless from the very beginning of his innings.
Rohit was positive and his contribution, though not substantial, is still something that could help his own confidence going forward and help the team’s cause as well in the coming days.