Afghanistan v India, World T20 2012, Group A, Colombo September 18, 2012

Rohit begins to clear his debts

  shares 30

Less than two months ago, Rohit Sharma stood halfway between the dressing room and the pitch at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo after being dismissed leg-before, hoping the third umpire would find that Nuwan Pradeep had overstepped. When the on-field umpire raised the finger a second time, Rohit closed his eyes in anguish and turned back, his languid gait reduced to a heavy-hearted plod, knowing he had heaped more pressure on himself after his fourth successive single-digit score.

On Tuesday, after successive scores of 37 and 56 in the World Twenty20 warm-up games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Rohit walked calmly into the media-briefing room at the same Premadasa and fielded questions confidently.

He began by thanking the team management for backing him throughout his unproductive run: "Talking about the past Sri Lanka tour, it was frustrating. I was not in great form but everyone showed faith in me, which is very encouraging. I have certainly worked hard on my batting and my fitness as well, so I think it is showing."

The management had gone out of their way to support someone who has been the future of Indian batting for five years now. With calls for dropping Rohit getting shriller after every failure of his, they ended the debate for the moment by leaving out legspinner Rahul Sharma to give the long-benched Manoj Tiwary a few games. But Rohit's woes worsened as he ended the tour with a miserable run of 5, 0, 0, 4 and 4.

Towards the end of the trip, you could see what a toll it was taking on him. Having the management's faith is fine, but that's also like a loan until you repay it with runs. Rohit's drooped shoulders carried themselves even into football games during practice. He would trudge around in the team hotel with the lack of runs clearly evident in his morose expression. It wasn't as if he had embraced sadness. He was making an effort to enjoy the football games, he was making an effort to smile at acquaintances, but the load of non-performance, it appeared, was becoming too heavy to bear.

Rohit probably needed to be away from a match situation for some time, because it appeared as if he was just trying to somehow not get dismissed. "After the Sri Lanka tour, I got 20-25 days and I made full use of it," Rohit said. "I was practicing at BKC indoors [at the Mumbai Cricket Association's academy] and I also went to the National Cricket Academy for a while. The hard work never stops. Whether you are in-form or not in-form you just have to keep working hard, which I have been doing."

The Sri Lanka tour cost Rohit his place in the Test squad against New Zealand. He was selected for the World Twenty20 but there was little chance he was going to be an asset with his form and mindset at that time. Rohit needed runs, but he didn't get a chance to bat much in the T20Is against Sri Lanka in August and New Zealand in September.

Having the management's faith is fine, but that's also like a loan until you repay it with runs. [During his poor run] Rohit's drooped shoulders carried themselves even into football games during practice. He was making an effort to enjoy the football games, but the load of non-performance, it appeared, was becoming too heavy to bear.

Had he failed in the warm-up matches as well and still kept his place in the XI against Afghanistan, the team management's confidence in him would have started to resemble blind faith. Fortunately for them, and Rohit, he managed to take advantage of the relatively pressure-free environment of the warm-ups to make two decent scores, his 37 against Sri Lanka coming after India were reduced to 51 for 4. Against Pakistan, with the in-form Virat Kohli charging out almost every ball to the spinners, Rohit did well not to follow his partner's approach, and waited in the crease for loose deliveries. He still finished on 56 at a strike-rate of 140.

Rohit acknowledged the importance of the two matches. "These two warm-up games, I wanted to make full use of because getting into a tournament with bad form is not a good way to go into a tournament. Even in Chennai [where] we played against New Zealand, I didn't get to bat. So these two warm-up games were very important from a personal point of view and I am glad I made full use of it.

"I don't want to lose this form. I just want to bat. I don't want to take [on] any pressure also because I just want to keep myself calm, free and composed."

Rohit's remarks showed his relief and also the apprehension that any additional strain and this overdue arrival of runs could prove to be temporary. His mindset still appears to be a bit fragile.

MS Dhoni was also asked whether he had felt relieved after Rohit got some runs, considering the extent to which he had backed his young batsman.

"If you see his Twenty20 record, he has batted well, in the IPL and in the last World Twenty20 as well," Dhoni said. "He is someone who can score big but he needs to give himself a bit more time. I felt in the two practice games he took a bit of time to get in and then played the big shots. We all know once he gets in he is someone who has the ability to play all kinds of shots and can hit all around the park." Dhoni will be hoping Rohit uses this edition of the World Twenty20 to repay the team management's loan of unflinching faith.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cricbee on | September 19, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Rohit was in stupendous form in 2011. He averaged way better than Kohli and proving his abilities to play in difficult times. And then comes the australia tour.. Dhoni made a batsman who is in finest form of his career to warm the benches. and there started his decline. Also Rohit's constant shuffling in batting order and his entry in tough conditions put an additional pressure on him, unlike Kohli who had the luxury of playing one down. I dont deny Rohit's personal attitude also had its share in his poor performances but people attributing his failure to only that is unacceptable.

  • POSTED BY mrmonty on | September 19, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    Cleared his debts! With one innings in an inconsequential T20!

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | September 19, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    On the contrary - I think Sreesanth has not been backed. He took some wickets in the test matches with SA (last time out). I only wish a coach takes Sreesanth and Ishant under their wing. We have few pace bowlers in India and what we have should be nurtured. Just learnt that Unadkat took 4-44 in NZ today. Thats good news for a left armer from India. Exposure to foreign pitches on A-tours are needed so that we can analyze bowling talent. Another youngster is Sandeep Sharma still young but good

  • POSTED BY gowrisankar32 on | September 19, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    hello BCCI here is a request from a cricket fan : please see all players as one dont select players those been liked by the captain or the BCCI it is not good for the indian team future example harbhajan singh failed only in england he has been put out of the team but rohit sharma failed in every series he played but still he has been given chances look at harbhajan he has prooved every thing in cricket but why it is happening and some more players are there like this manoj tiwary, yusuf pathan, robin uthappa bowlers like sree santh varon aron and many more players are there why you BCCI is still going on with these it is really reaaly a bad thing for team india

  • POSTED BY Kavi_S on | September 19, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    You must be kidding...2 innings in some practice games and we should forget all the wasted opportunities and inconsistencies..I thought cricinfo would have had a more thoughtful view on this. Rohit's being persisted with unaccountably has just resulted in frustration and lost opportunities for other, hard working cricketers like Rahane, Tiwary...

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    I pity Manoj Tiwary who is being overlooked despite good performances whenever he got a chance and careless players like Rohit Sharma getting chances instead.

  • POSTED BY DeekshaSpeaks on | September 19, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Rohit is an incredible talent and no one deserves the faith as much as he does. Perseverance and grit is one thing to have but this amount of potential simply cannot be overlooked. It's usually not often that I'm happy with decisions regarding selection that the BCCI makes, but this time I'm proud!

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    rohit shrma is a best batsmen he has changed his jersey

  • POSTED BY premendrasinghal on | September 19, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    I don't think that his form will last long. So many chances given to him wasted. He will play a couple of good innings and then the same story will repeat. I remember only one player like Rohit Sharma who got so many chances even after more failure than success and who's Dhoni's favorite: Ravindra Jadeja. Rohit looks so lazy while batting. his reflexes are like an elephant.

  • POSTED BY Samar_Singh on | September 19, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    OMG Rohit again !!! Most talented ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ..

  • POSTED BY cricbee on | September 19, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Rohit was in stupendous form in 2011. He averaged way better than Kohli and proving his abilities to play in difficult times. And then comes the australia tour.. Dhoni made a batsman who is in finest form of his career to warm the benches. and there started his decline. Also Rohit's constant shuffling in batting order and his entry in tough conditions put an additional pressure on him, unlike Kohli who had the luxury of playing one down. I dont deny Rohit's personal attitude also had its share in his poor performances but people attributing his failure to only that is unacceptable.

  • POSTED BY mrmonty on | September 19, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    Cleared his debts! With one innings in an inconsequential T20!

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | September 19, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    On the contrary - I think Sreesanth has not been backed. He took some wickets in the test matches with SA (last time out). I only wish a coach takes Sreesanth and Ishant under their wing. We have few pace bowlers in India and what we have should be nurtured. Just learnt that Unadkat took 4-44 in NZ today. Thats good news for a left armer from India. Exposure to foreign pitches on A-tours are needed so that we can analyze bowling talent. Another youngster is Sandeep Sharma still young but good

  • POSTED BY gowrisankar32 on | September 19, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    hello BCCI here is a request from a cricket fan : please see all players as one dont select players those been liked by the captain or the BCCI it is not good for the indian team future example harbhajan singh failed only in england he has been put out of the team but rohit sharma failed in every series he played but still he has been given chances look at harbhajan he has prooved every thing in cricket but why it is happening and some more players are there like this manoj tiwary, yusuf pathan, robin uthappa bowlers like sree santh varon aron and many more players are there why you BCCI is still going on with these it is really reaaly a bad thing for team india

  • POSTED BY Kavi_S on | September 19, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    You must be kidding...2 innings in some practice games and we should forget all the wasted opportunities and inconsistencies..I thought cricinfo would have had a more thoughtful view on this. Rohit's being persisted with unaccountably has just resulted in frustration and lost opportunities for other, hard working cricketers like Rahane, Tiwary...

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    I pity Manoj Tiwary who is being overlooked despite good performances whenever he got a chance and careless players like Rohit Sharma getting chances instead.

  • POSTED BY DeekshaSpeaks on | September 19, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Rohit is an incredible talent and no one deserves the faith as much as he does. Perseverance and grit is one thing to have but this amount of potential simply cannot be overlooked. It's usually not often that I'm happy with decisions regarding selection that the BCCI makes, but this time I'm proud!

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    rohit shrma is a best batsmen he has changed his jersey

  • POSTED BY premendrasinghal on | September 19, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    I don't think that his form will last long. So many chances given to him wasted. He will play a couple of good innings and then the same story will repeat. I remember only one player like Rohit Sharma who got so many chances even after more failure than success and who's Dhoni's favorite: Ravindra Jadeja. Rohit looks so lazy while batting. his reflexes are like an elephant.

  • POSTED BY Samar_Singh on | September 19, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    OMG Rohit again !!! Most talented ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ..

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | September 19, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    If it is the 'favorite player' we will give him chance after chance after chance until he performs one day. On that day we will say 'we knew he can perform. He is a class act and future of Indian cricket'. We will make sure commentators always praise that player irrespective of the number of failures. On the other hand, if it is 'non-favorite', we will ignore him, bench him, ignore him, bench him. Give one or two evaluation matches in touch conditions and drop him him even if he performs. Keep it up BCCI. Just comparing the support each player gets - RSharma and Badri's cases. The two extremes in terms of support from management. No, I didn't say it is because of their place of birth.

  • POSTED BY IndianROCKstars_2011_ODIchamps on | September 19, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Rohit is talented for sure. But he also has got enough chances. It is not fair to Tiwary who is equally talented even if his style of batting is not as graceful as Rohit. My suggestion is both should get alternate games (not in worldcup though) in bilateral series over next 2 years. This will built an healthy competition and will only serve India well. Eventually after Tendulkar or Sehwag goes both can fit in the team and alongwith Kohli, Pujara, Chand , Rahane the future of Indian batting atleast in tests looks to be good for the next decade.

  • POSTED BY kokapitt on | September 19, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    rohit has the talent.uses it about just 20 percent.when he is on a roll,he is my most watchable cricketer next to sachin.hope he gets promoted to the top order.he is dangerous as an opener because with such wide variety of shots he can be as dangerous as sehwag

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    whether rohit sharma is in form or out of form is useless, manoj tiwary is the not the answer for India's middle order. I am pretty sure there are better batsman in the country. dont go too much on tiwary's runs, everyone knows how low grade the domestic Indian bowling attack is and how helpful the pitches are.

  • POSTED BY yuvimybro on | September 19, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    Rohit is definitely talented, should play with lot of confidence. Both he and Yuvi are capable of winning matches and thats what I feel will happen this time around. On paper, no other team has a batting lineup with every player capable of hitting a t20 100 on his day. just that they have to take this very serious and every time play as if its their first match in intl. sometimes or evem many times i feel seeing their interactions and body language, they have forgotten that they are the most privileged men to play a religion and should worship it every time and not react only when their place in the team is a problem. I hope all 11 players play all games just like how yuvi will play. All the best guys. Dont disappoint us this time...........

  • POSTED BY swarudprince on | September 19, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    ROHITH IS THE FUTURE OF INDIAN CRICKET...THIS IS THE RIGHT TIME TO BACK HIM......WHEN HE WAS IN THE FORM OF HIS LIFE U ASKED HIM TO SIT ON THE BENCH IN AUSTRALIA...THEN WHEN HE LOST HIS TOUCH YOU ASKED HIM TO PLAY IN SRILANKA WHERE HE LACKED MATCH PRACTICE..FOR ME HE IS BETTER THAN VIRAT WHY I WILL TEEL YOU..VIRAT DID HAVE THE PRIVILAGE TO COME AT NUMBER 3 AND 4..WHERE AS ROHIT HAD TO COME AT NO.6 AND 7 QT FREQUENTLY..WHEN HE STARTED SCORING IN ODI INDIA BACKED LAXMAN IN AUSTRALIA FOR TESTS WHERE AS THE FORM OF ROHIT WAS BURNT IN BENCH..HE IS A GEM OF A BATSMAN BECAUSE WHEN HE HITS A BALL HE DO HAVE AN EXTRA SECOND MORE LIKE SACHIN,RICKY AND LARA..I WILL BACK HIM AS A FUTURE GREAT..I HAVE ONE SMALL ADVICE TO MEDIA...PLEASE LEAVE ROHIT..LET HIS BAT DO THE TALKING..

  • POSTED BY indian_fight on | September 19, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    so,once again manoj tiwary is out.nice.next he will be out of ODI-s also.only rohit sharma can play!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY sauravjha_ on | September 19, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    I just hope Rohit comes off this time, we all know about what he can do but this time its about the confidence which Dhoni n team management is showing in him. It would be quite an achivement of sorts for team management if Rohit does well especially after what happened in last series in SL. Also withe Yuvraj still looking to get used to match practice/fitness it is essential for other middle order players to take extra responsibility and players like Dhoni,Raina and Rohit wil have to come good and let Yuvraj ease his way into the tournament. All the best to Team India.

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    @SIJOYSANJIV: really agree with u man. he is under pressure more then rohit sharma. poor guy.

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    I'm 500 % sure that Rohit will perform in this world cup, unfortunately things didn't go his way in recent lanka ODI series. But he will certainly bounce back. Like Dhoni said, if he gets in he is the one who can play all kind of shots. I'm sure opponent teams also know how lethal he can be when it comes to this format. Not only this format it was highly disappointing to see batsman of his talent missing Test Chance against NZ in recent test series. But still long way to go, he can and he certainly will create history.

  • POSTED BY arup_g on | September 19, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    When Rohit Sharma burst onto the scenes, I was so excited and hoping this kid would be the next big thing in Indian cricket! That clearly hasn't happened, however he is still young and has enough talent to get himself out of this hole and become the big thing of Indian cricket. India surely need him in the middle order for all three formats. He, in my opinion is still the best person to fill Sachin's void when he retires, In ODI cricket I see him batting around 5-6 and becoming India's finisher, and in T20 cricket, he has the ability to bat anywhere between 3-7. I sincerely hope hope he starts to move 'talent' into form, and then consistent runs. Mr Sharma, take a leaf out of a Virat Kohli's book please!!

  • POSTED BY avani on | September 19, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Rohit needs to keep his form up consistently. Now he cannot afford even a single failure. T20 WC started. One more failure means he shoudl be kept out. At least another 3 matches he has to score consistently at least. But, present Indian team has greater threat than Rohit's form. ie, continuous failure of openers to score big. It is not haunting so far with Kohli & Dhoni's form. But all days are not sundays. Both the openers (Sehwag & Gambhir) or at least one of them need to score big in coming matches. Otherwise, no score is defendable for us given our bowling strength! for God's sake, keep Balaji out pl. Bhajji is not effective either. Dhoni need to think out of the box like giving an over to Sehwag also ina turning pitch.

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    am wondering abt tiwary..how he s feeling, aftr playing well consistantly and still not finding a place in xi jst bcoz selectrs n captn feel someone who s in bad form is a betr player than him.... i think runs against ur name matters the most...

    if rohit s back to form, its good fr the team...bt how abt the confidence of tiwary and the pressure he vl b in the nxt tym he plays fr india.... even scoring runs consistently s nt giving him a pemanent spot in indian team... so wen he fails , he vl sure be out f the team...

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    It will be good for India if Rohit becomes a permanent.

    People don't reply to India-the-ultimate-winner, he seems to be a anti-Indian fan....lolz Sreesanth no.1 bowler....lolz..he is trying to make Indians look stupid and I am laughing hard at his statements....He must be really humorous in real life....

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | September 19, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    DESPITE what others say, I feel this guy could be Sachin's replacement. Yes he has failed, but how can India let go of a talent like this. Seriousily people should ask both Ian and Greg Chappell - they know talent when they see it. There are still veterans in the test team - Sachin, Shewag and Zaks - So Rohit has a chance to impress at this T20 before he goes into tests/Odi's. I feel this WC T20 is where Rohit will make his mark for India. He did well in W/Indies as well against fast bowlers. In the IPL he scored a ton as well. There is evidence.

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Hope atleast this time he pays back the faith to the management or this would be the last chance given to him.... otherwise he would be going the Kambli way.....

  • POSTED BY RakeshKumarNoida on | September 19, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    I think Rohit got the chances which he wasn't deserved?

  • POSTED BY HawksEyeFocused on | September 19, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    He's just boasting of what he doesn't have!!! lol....The world's weakest and spineless bowling is waiting to get thrashed by Afghanistan's team!!!

  • POSTED BY India-The-ultimate-winner on | September 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Dhoni bhai......Please give some chances to India's(Worlds's-my opinion) no. 1 bowler " SREESANTH" to prove...

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | September 19, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Two warm ups not going to erase his debts. IF at all Rohit could claim he is back, he should perform a role with impact like which Yuvi did in the 2011 WC. Is it too much for small guy? Then atleast he should look into his own performance in 2007T20 WC where he was the guy who scored the extra runs which in fact turned mostly as the victory margin and was great in the field too. If he can repeat it, it would be good for him as well as the team. As a certain starter in the 11, he need to contribute more than what he did in the warmups. he does owe many more to the captain and team management and the fans too.

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  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | September 19, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Two warm ups not going to erase his debts. IF at all Rohit could claim he is back, he should perform a role with impact like which Yuvi did in the 2011 WC. Is it too much for small guy? Then atleast he should look into his own performance in 2007T20 WC where he was the guy who scored the extra runs which in fact turned mostly as the victory margin and was great in the field too. If he can repeat it, it would be good for him as well as the team. As a certain starter in the 11, he need to contribute more than what he did in the warmups. he does owe many more to the captain and team management and the fans too.

  • POSTED BY India-The-ultimate-winner on | September 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Dhoni bhai......Please give some chances to India's(Worlds's-my opinion) no. 1 bowler " SREESANTH" to prove...

  • POSTED BY HawksEyeFocused on | September 19, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    He's just boasting of what he doesn't have!!! lol....The world's weakest and spineless bowling is waiting to get thrashed by Afghanistan's team!!!

  • POSTED BY RakeshKumarNoida on | September 19, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    I think Rohit got the chances which he wasn't deserved?

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Hope atleast this time he pays back the faith to the management or this would be the last chance given to him.... otherwise he would be going the Kambli way.....

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | September 19, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    DESPITE what others say, I feel this guy could be Sachin's replacement. Yes he has failed, but how can India let go of a talent like this. Seriousily people should ask both Ian and Greg Chappell - they know talent when they see it. There are still veterans in the test team - Sachin, Shewag and Zaks - So Rohit has a chance to impress at this T20 before he goes into tests/Odi's. I feel this WC T20 is where Rohit will make his mark for India. He did well in W/Indies as well against fast bowlers. In the IPL he scored a ton as well. There is evidence.

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    It will be good for India if Rohit becomes a permanent.

    People don't reply to India-the-ultimate-winner, he seems to be a anti-Indian fan....lolz Sreesanth no.1 bowler....lolz..he is trying to make Indians look stupid and I am laughing hard at his statements....He must be really humorous in real life....

  • POSTED BY on | September 19, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    am wondering abt tiwary..how he s feeling, aftr playing well consistantly and still not finding a place in xi jst bcoz selectrs n captn feel someone who s in bad form is a betr player than him.... i think runs against ur name matters the most...

    if rohit s back to form, its good fr the team...bt how abt the confidence of tiwary and the pressure he vl b in the nxt tym he plays fr india.... even scoring runs consistently s nt giving him a pemanent spot in indian team... so wen he fails , he vl sure be out f the team...

  • POSTED BY avani on | September 19, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Rohit needs to keep his form up consistently. Now he cannot afford even a single failure. T20 WC started. One more failure means he shoudl be kept out. At least another 3 matches he has to score consistently at least. But, present Indian team has greater threat than Rohit's form. ie, continuous failure of openers to score big. It is not haunting so far with Kohli & Dhoni's form. But all days are not sundays. Both the openers (Sehwag & Gambhir) or at least one of them need to score big in coming matches. Otherwise, no score is defendable for us given our bowling strength! for God's sake, keep Balaji out pl. Bhajji is not effective either. Dhoni need to think out of the box like giving an over to Sehwag also ina turning pitch.

  • POSTED BY arup_g on | September 19, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    When Rohit Sharma burst onto the scenes, I was so excited and hoping this kid would be the next big thing in Indian cricket! That clearly hasn't happened, however he is still young and has enough talent to get himself out of this hole and become the big thing of Indian cricket. India surely need him in the middle order for all three formats. He, in my opinion is still the best person to fill Sachin's void when he retires, In ODI cricket I see him batting around 5-6 and becoming India's finisher, and in T20 cricket, he has the ability to bat anywhere between 3-7. I sincerely hope hope he starts to move 'talent' into form, and then consistent runs. Mr Sharma, take a leaf out of a Virat Kohli's book please!!