Championing Rohit Sharma: The Test Batsman
The ability to overcome weaknesses and shine in tough situations are the two ingredients in the making of a great player. Every cricketer has certain shortcomings that act as chinks in their otherwise unbreachable armour.
The ones that can’t find a way past their own weaknesses end up having a career where they’re preyed on and the ones that do, prey on just about every opposition and are usually destined for greatness.
Rohit Sharma certainly belongs to the latter and his match-winning knock at the Oval just abouts sums that up.
Overseas centuries have always been a forbidden fruit for the Mumbai-bred man. Ever since the initial stages of his career, Hitman has been able to accumulate an incredible amount of runs on home soil. On foreign soil, it was a different story and not one Rohit would want us to tell.
The constant failure to crack on away from home was the only thing that stood between Rohit Sharma and greatness. Finally, he seems to have found his stride.
While 5 centuries in a single World Cup wasn’t enough to shut up his critics, he has well and truly answered all the doubts with a brilliant 127 at Oval in fighting conditions. There’s no denying that Sharma was in god-like touch at the 2019 World Cup and his tournament cements his status as a legend of ODI cricket.
Hitman’s record-5 centuries were of the highest order at the biggest stage and propelled him to be classed as the best white-ball batsman on the planet, at the time.
However, the doubts existed, only because Rohit wasn’t the same beast in red-ball cricket and for all his class, his inability to thrive in the ultimate test for any cricketer was fodder for his critics.
A year ago, it never seemed Rohit Sharma could make his mark in Test cricket. Cut to today, and he is India’s highest-ranked Test batsman.
At 33-years old, despite having achieved almost everything a player could dream of, Rohit would cherish his sublime 127 off 256 balls in a manner that you can imagine he does not with his other knocks.
An arduous wait of 8 years combined with conquering his own doubts, that outweigh what the world says makes this innings one to hold close to for the Mumbai Indians skipper.
What makes it even more special is the situation in which Rohit achieved the feat.
With a 100-run lead, the English struck a confident bunch. And given their fragile middle-order, it was up to Rohit and Rahul to ensure that India rescue themselves out of the abyss and the former was the gamechanger yet again.
Knowing which balls to leave and which ones to take to the cleaners, he made life miserable for a seasoned English bowling attack. And what needs to be talked about even more is despite an uncharacteristically patient knock, the manner in which he brought up his century was signature stuff.
Sharma blasted Moeen Ali past long-on to reach the three-digit figure when he was at 94. Is there a better way to etch your name onto the Oval Honours Board? Doubt it.
If you ever want to explain the term. “ice in his veins”, just replay this clip and there won’t be a better teacher than you.
Digressions aside, Rohit was on one of the headline acts behind India’s iconic Oval victory after 57 years. While this Test will also go down as one of the best Indian victories on away soil, Rohit Sharma’s heroics will be championed for years to come.
With a 2-1 lead, India isn’t far from a historic test series coup at England after 11 years.
And this isn’t just about 1 innings. Hitman has been India’s best batsman in this ongoing series and it’s not even debatable at this point.
While the underwhelming displays from the other batsmen also make Shardul Thakur look like Don Bradman reincarnated (it’s a joke but Shardul is a king), it would be a crime to take anything away from this brilliant run Rohit Sharma is on at the minute.
Before anyone forgets, the Indian opener’s performances with the bat were vital for India’s unreal win at Lord’s too.
We saw a few glimpses of this in Australia as well.
While Rohit couldn’t really capitalize on the decent starts for quite a long time, he seems to have finally found his stride. For almost a year, Rohit was getting to the 30-run mark and incessantly failing to convert it into a big score, time and again.
At Oval, he turned his critics into his fans.
Yes, his game has its fair share of errors- for instance, he still hasn’t mastered the art of playing short balls. But it’s bizarre to stay fixated on that considering not only is he getting there, he has been undeniably excellent off late.
Stay tuned because Rohit Sharma, the Test batsman is only getting started.