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Rohit, a mystery wrapped in an enigma


Rajdeep Sardesai,CNN-IBN
Aug 06, 2012 at 04:10pm IST

Hello and welcome once again to DRS, my very own personal space where we discuss matters cricketing. Today I though we would focus on Rohit Sharma, a cricketer who can best be described as a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Rohit Sharma, a cricketer whom, if you ask any former or even present Indian player, or ask any international player "who's the most talented young Indian batsman?" and nine out of ten will you its Rohit Sharma.

And yet, the same Rohit Sharma is barely averaging 2.5 runs an innings in this Sri Lanka one-day international series against a mediocre Sri Lankan attack; a Rohit Sharma who in 84 one-day internationals is averaging in the low thirties; who has only two one-day international hundreds; a Rohit Sharma who still hasn't played Test matches yet.

Contrast him, for example, with Virat Kohli who has got over a dozen one-day international hundreds; who's already scored a Test hundred; who at the age of 21 [sic] is emerging as one of the rising stars of international cricket even as Rohit, on his 25th birthday, is struggling to establish himself in the Indian cricket side.

Watch Rohit Sharma in any match – in a Twenty20 match against Kolkata Knight Riders this year he was absolutely brilliant. On a difficult wicket, he made batting look ridiculously easy. In fact, every time you watch Rohit Sharma bat you are amazed at the amount of time he has to play the ball. And the variety of shots that he has. Why is it then that this amazingly talented cricketer is unable to make the great leap into international cricket?

That's because cricket, somewhere, is 50 percent talent but is 50 percent played in the mind. And somewhere, Rohit Sharma's mind is quite not in tune with the demands of international cricket. He gets out in a manner that suggests he doesn't learn from his mistakes. The great players don't make the same mistakes twice. In whatever sport you are, whether it's Roger Federer in tennis; whether it's Tiger Woods in golf; whether it's Sachin Tendulkar in cricket – they learn from their mistakes and they look to get better.

Rohit Sharma, perhaps because it's all come so easily to him, the fame, the success, he almost takes it for granted that when he goes out, he doesn't need to do that little bit extra. Its not that he isn't trying. Its quite simply that he hasn't learned to conquer his mind to avoid making the same mistakes.

The contrast with Virat Kohli could not be starker. Virat Kohli, if you saw him a few years ago, was clearly a batsman who had enormous problems against the short ball and who had limitations in his strokeplay. But he still learned to build on that, to the point where today he can play shots all over the wicket. He knows the art of building a Test innings.

Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, has failed in that test. Virat Kohli is a triumph of temperament over technique. Rohit Sharma reminds us that temperament matters as much as technique and strokeplay at the highest level. It's a real pity, because I still believe that Rohit Sharma has much to offer the Indian cricket team. I still believe that a day will come when Rohit Sharma will be the No. 4 batsman in the Indian team, both in Test and one-day cricket. But for that, Rohit Sharma needs to go back to the drawing board, needs to realize that nothing comes easy in life, that yes, he's achieved success in Twenty20 and in the IPL, but in international cricket they don't allow you to make the same mistakes twice. The bowlers in international cricket will find you out if you don't learn from your mistakes.

Rohit Sharma needs to learn from his mistakes. Rohit Sharma needs to realize that cricket is a trial by fire. If you can't stand the heat, you've got to get out of the kitchen. He needs to stay in the kitchen, fight it out, and become a better player. Here's hoping that Rohit Sharma will learn from his Sri Lankan nightmarish tour and hopefully will get his due place in the Indian cricket team. It would be a pity if the talents of Rohit Sharma are confined to Ranji Trophy and the IPL.

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