The curious case of Rohit Sharma


Bangladesh v India - ICC Champions Trophy Semi Final

It has been over ten years since Rohit Sharma made his international debut for India. His talent was on display at the World T20 held in South Africa. He was seen as the next big thing in Indian cricket.

But has he lived up to expectations? 

After his debut in 2007, Sharma was in and out of the ODI side. He failed to find a place in the squad for the 2011 World Cup, which India eventually won. Then-captain MS Dhoni was often blamed for giving Rohit Sharma too many chances. Even though he played some impressive innings during that period, people knew he was not doing justice to his talent.

Then came the Champions Trophy in 2013. India were looking to move on from Sehwag and Gambhir, and thus considering other opening batting combinations.

In a surprising move, Rohit Sharma was asked to open with Shikhar Dhawan. And this proved to be the turning point in Rohit's career. He grabbed this opportunity with both hands and made the position his own, proving critics wrong.

Since then he hasn't played at any other position in the batting order and we have witnessed some great innings from him, especially playing at home. 

Unfortunately, Rohit's Test career hasn't been the same. Picked in 2013 for a home series against West Indies, Sharma has had a very unstable career so far and has played only 25 matches in the span of five years. Even though he averages nearly 40 in Test cricket, he hasn't been able to make runs for the team when needed to most. Most of his runs are in subcontinent conditions and against not very strong teams.

He has struggled overseas, especially in Tests, and questions have often been raised about his place in the team. He has been fighting for a place in the playing XI against the likes of Pujara and Rahane, who are considered technically superior to him. But still, selectors and team management have put their money on him in Test cricket.

And to be honest, they can't be blamed.

Rohit in full flow is a sight worth watching. He has played some of the most fluent and superlative knocks in ODI cricket (including three double hundreds), and any team management would be tempted to see whether he can produce the same results in Test cricket too. But is it time to make a final call? 

There have been obvious flaws in Rohit's technique and temperament when it comes to red ball cricket. He is guilty of poor shot selection and being lazy with his footwork. The present team management believe that Rohit can take the match away from the opposition in one session, but those opportunities are rare in Test cricket when you have to accelerate and put runs on the board in quick time. Test cricket is not about flamboyance, it is about temperament. 

It's high time the selectors take a final call on Rohit Sharma. Are they ready to invest more time on Rohit Sharma or are they ready to accept the fact that Rohit Sharma is one of those players who have an excellent ODI career but aren't able to translate it to Test cricket? The odds are definitely against Rohit at this stage, but we never know, he might prove us wrong yet again.