Mr Rohit Sharma – last and final call?
Not long ago the 5 wise men of Indian cricket met again and picked the team for the upcoming home series against the Kiwis. And if you are one of those who get pregnant with the expectation of controversies every time the selection committee meets , you would have necessarily had an off day, for the selection was more or less in expected lines and devoid of jaw-dropping inclusions or exclusions!
You would probably want to point out the absence of a back-up spinner in the squad, if you want to be very critical, but then you would also know that it’s certainly not a matter worth playing up. Yes, there were a few players hoping to get a look-in with Manish Pandey leading that pack with some compelling performances but only eleven men can take the field!
So, was the selection an absolutely fair and just one? Well, you might have a different view if you are either a member of the ‘Gautam Gambhir Club’ or you belong to the group of people who have lost their patience with the contemporary mystery in Indian cricket, Rohit Sharma!
Rohit ‘Enigma’ Sharma
I have strongly believed that Gautam Gambhir was shown the door at a time when he should have been representing the country in all three formats. Still there is fire left in the diminutive southpaw’s belly and that’s heartening to see! And GG would know that he is running three races simultaneously; one against the younger horses, another against time and perhaps a third one against a few in the establishment itself!
And now on to the most unfulfilled talent in Indian cricket in recent times..If there was no substitute for talent, Rohit Sharma should have been the Usain Bolt of Indian batting! But sadly, he continues to be the Rohit ‘Enigmatic’ Sharma for a frustratingly long period now, breathtakingly sublime one day and despairingly clueless the next, someone who sits on an exasperatingly big heap of undelivered promises! Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties, one might argue! But on a more serious note, the man himself would know that he is a few notches lower than where he should have been at this point!
An average of 42.08 in ODIs decorated by two double hundreds and an average of 31.72 in T 20 Internationals is not bad for any player, not at all! To go with it is his stature as one of the ‘IPL legends’! And it’s his performances in the longest format which has disappointed the fans no ends. A test career which had an unusually late start to it given his talent, promised a lot initially but has failed to deliver ever since.
At a time when a lot of cricketers are happy making a living travelling the world wielding their big, broad T 2O bats, it’s also interesting to see many talented young cricketers rate test cricket as their top most priority. Some sound genuine and some, a bit like the swim suit clad beauty pageant contestants claiming Mother Theresa to be their role model! Once touted as the heir to the great Sachin Tendulkar’s throne, anything less than a consistently good performance in test cricket from Rohit was always going to be unacceptable. The flip side of talent, one might say!
Rohit, no longer the ‘next big thing’
Such was his talent and grace when he burst on to the international scene in 2007 that in no time he was seen as the ‘next big thing’ in Indian cricket! He could pull quality pacers over square leg with absolute ease and drive down the ground with class written all over it as we watched – with a mix of joy, appreciation and disbelief! So, where did this incredible talent lose the plot?
Well, it could well be between his ears! And that’s perhaps the reason why Rohit also saw the second in the list of the ‘next big thing’ eclipsing him to be the superstar of Indian cricket! Virat Kohli, at some point in the past few years, seemed to have done something which allowed him to productively channelise his energy and aggression which had once threatened to consume him! Rohit, on the other hand, seems to be content taking things as they come!
To conclude, there are divided opinions on Rohit Sharma’s selection. Some look at it as a fair call of a supreme talent being given an extended run where as a few others feel he is in also because he has the knack of finding himself on the right side of the right people! But there is little doubt even in the minds of his hardest critics that should Rohit manage to beckon his talent at the right opportunity, there are very few players around more valuable than him!
My crazy imagination likens him to someone who reaches the airport well in time for his travel, goes through the formalities smoothly and somehow manages to miss the flight despite having a business class boarding pass! This could just be the last and final test call for Rohit Sharma. And let’s hope he boards comfortably this time! And that would be great news for Indian cricket!