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The Rohit Sharma question

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Rohit_Sharma_India_cricket_talentThe tour of the Caribbean is here. India’s new, young blood side is set to conquer the islands after defeating the Proteas in a home series under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.

Anil Kumble is all set to take on his new job as the head coach of the Indian cricket team. There have been a plethora of positive responses to that decision, and the team looks happy to work with him too. Apart from that, the motivational speech from the one and only MS Dhoni to the youngsters should count for something in the end.

A lot of the questions have been answered. Almost everything is ready: the team is ready, the support staff is ready, West Indies is ready, both the boards of the respective countries are ready, Jason Holder is ready (with an inexperienced squad). But one question still remains and that is ‘The Big Question.’

Will Rohit Sharma be in the playing eleven?

Being extremely straightforward and blunt, Rohit’s recent performances in the longest form do not earn him a place in the playing eleven. He was miserable against South Africa, he was good against Sri Lanka but not great in the whole series. There were just a few patches of good batting from him in that series. He missed his chance in the one-off Test against Bangladesh by playing a silly shot in the beginning of his innings and gave his wicket away there. He wasn’t really great in Australia apart from that one Test in Sydney. And, well, England before that was just horrible.

 

Rohit might be one of the finest talents in India, but if he isn’t able to secure his place in the playing eleven on merit, then a place shouldn’t be created for him.

Talent isn’t the sole requirement for anything in this world. It is only a small portion of the requirements. There is no doubt that Rohit has talent, but that doesn’t mean that other hardworking players should be neglected.

Rohit’s place in the playing eleven should be based on merit, it should be based on his performance, it should be based on his consistency, it should be based on his match-winning ability, and most importantly, it should be based on his performance in the longest format where temperament, grit, determination, and patience are required more than anything else. After looking at all this, and his previous record in the whites, one feels that other worthy players should be given a chance ahead of Rohit.

But there is more to this Rohit debate which has to be considered before coming to a clear conclusion.

India’s previous Test match was early in December last year, which means it has been 7 months since they last played in the whites. After that, it has been all about limited overs cricket. First the ODI & T20I tour of Australia, then the T20I series against Sri Lanka, followed by the T20 Asia Cup and the World T20, and finally the IPL.

When India visited Australia, Rohit was awarded player of the series trophy in the five-match ODI series despite India losing it 4-1. He scored a mammoth 441 runs at an astonishing average of 110+, which included two hundreds and a score of 99 as well. That was a batting display to watch out for. It was simply awe inspiring. He was stunning in the T20 series later on, but was overshadowed by the superb performances of Virat Kohli after that.

Although Rohit did not have a great time at the Asia Cup and the World T20, he ended his season pretty well with the IPL 2016, where he scored 489 runs in fourteen matches at an average of above 44. This included five scores of fifty and, more importantly, most of his knocks were match winning knocks here.

The big question still remains, will he get a chance or not?

That is the collective decision of the captain, the coach, and the selection staff, but in my view he does not deserve a chance based on his limited overs performances, excellent as they may be. He has to show something more to get into the playing eleven in the Test side.

 

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