The HIT-man was at it again in the first test match against the Proteas. Rohit Sharma after having played in the middle order for his relatively short test career was promoted up the order in Vizag to open the batting alongside Mayank Aggarwal and boy! the Mumbai lad answered his critics in a fierce way, where he left his bat do the talking.
He tore apart the insipid bowling of Du Plessis’s side, piling up mammoth 176 runs with 6 sixes in the first innings, one short of his career-best figure and in the second innings blasted a belligerent 127 laced with 7 humongous sixes, breaking the record of Wasim Akram’s most number of sixes (12) in a test match.
Rohit on Saturday became the first-ever batsman to score two centuries on debut as a Test opener. The fluency, the lazy-elegance and the effortless stroke play of his batting would have left the purists of the game wanting for more.
But the question arises, a batsman who has the technique and temperament to slam hundreds, daddy hundreds albeit double hundreds, why was he ignored for so long?
One of the pillars of modern-white ball cricket for the Indian team, Rohit has always wandered on the fringes of the test team. Despite having a stunning average of over 100 at home, Rohit has not been in the scheme of things for the Test team for quite some time. He has never got the long run that a player like KL Rahul has got over the years. Rahul has been a colossal failure for India, he has struck form here and there but his contribution to the team has been pathetic, to say the least, and when he was shown the doors, the responsibility came upon the shoulders of Sharma who lapped onto it. He might have failed in the SENA countries a few times, but that does not mean he is a bad test player.
The age-old adage “Form is temporary, class is permanent” holds true for Rohit. The team management needs to persist with him and give him a long rope. Virat has to understand that whatever differences they have as an individual can not creep into the team setup because you are representing the country and no personal motive can outscore it.
With the T20 world cup around the corner next year, it would not be a bad decision to handle the reins of the captaincy to Rohit in the shortest format of the game. He has time and again proved his mettle in the format by leading the Mumbai Indians franchise and winning the IPL four times.
Compare it to Kohli, who despite having the biggest superstars at his disposal in RCB has never won it once.
There has to be some substance as to why Rohit has been so successful in the world’s toughest and gruelling T20 league.
The idea of split captaincy might play in favour of both the team and individual stalwarts of the team. While in the white-ball formats, especially T20, if Rohit takes the lead, Kohli can guide the team in the red-ball format keeping up the consistent performance that he has been delivering over his career.
It is a no brainer that Virat Kohli is a cricketer who wears his heart on his sleeve, and it really encourages other players to follow him. He always fist pumps when he gets an important boundary in a tight run-chase or a wicket falls at a crucial juncture of the game.
Aggression is a good emotion when shown in a correct measure but sometimes Kohli goes overboard which can do more harm than good to the team.
His fiery passion for the game is admirable, but being the leader of the side he should balance it which will really help his teammates. Sometimes putting a hand on someone’s shoulder who is under pressure can work wonders which “Rohit” does all the time.
Rohit has always trusted the core players, and the prime example is of Kieron Pollard’s inclusion in the team when he was going through a lean patch. Pollard repaid the faith showed in him and won several matches for Rohit and MI single-handedly. Kohli should try to take a leaf out of Rohit’s captaincy book here.
Virat has been a successful leader for the Indian team, but having a hawk-eye look at his captaincy style one can easily figure out that he follows a set pattern in every game. Virat loves to use winning formula and there is no problem in rejigging the winning team, but at some point, the opposition teams work out the equations, as it had happened in the 2019 World Cup.
There is no doubt that Virat Kohli is the ultimate player in the current Indian set-up but as a leader, he can pick up few things from his teammate Rohit Sharma which will benefit the Men in Blue and the RCB franchise immensely. Also, Kohli should not snub Rohit from the test team even if he fails in the upcoming matches.
Rohit is a class act and a proven match-winner, it would not take him time to get adjusted to the nuances of the format, we all know what he is capable of bringing on the table. A fully-unleashed HITMAN is a living nightmare for the opposition.