India news September 12, 2013

Rohit happy with new role as opener

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rohit Sharma, the India batsman, has said his recent stint as ODI opener was the result of discussions with his captain MS Dhoni, who believed he had the skills to handle the moving ball. Batting at the top of the order, Rohit said, had given him more time to get acquainted with the conditions, which helped lend consistency to his game.

"We (Rohit and MS Dhoni) haven't spoken at length about this," Rohit told Times of India. "But whatever little MS spoke with me, he did suggest that I have the ability to open the batting and counter the new ball. I'm glad he finds me capable of it and I've also been working hard on it."

With the new ICC rules of having a new ball at either end in ODIs, Rohit said the job had got more challenging. "Oh yes, facing two new balls is not easy. The new rules have had an impact and we're happy we could manage to do well and adjust to them. As far as opening is concerned, it is about how mentally strong you are, what kind of pressure you can manage to take and deliver."

Rohit first opened for India in January 2011 during the tour of South Africa, but had a lean return with only 29 runs in three innings. He was given the role again during the home ODIs against England this January, and immediately made an impact, scoring 83 in Mohali. Taking into account his performance this year, Rohit has scored 580 runs at 41.42 in 16 innings as an opener, which is nine runs higher than his career average (32.37). He has also struck six fifties during this period but no centuries.

Rohit is aware of how heavy expectations can be. "Well, earlier it was about not getting runs, now it's about not converting 50s into 100s. I'm sure next it's going to be about not converting 100s into 150s. I don't know why people pick on these things so easily.

"Okay, I do understand that challenge is a good thing and it makes you work harder. But I've also just started playing a new role in the team (as opener). It's been just four months. People do expect too much in a very limited period of time. I know people want me to do well. But sometimes, these expectations are just too high.

"I'd personally like to believe that as long as the team is winning, the contributions are in place and players are taking care of the responsibility assigned to them, it's fine. Probably, the next step is to be the match-winner and be consistent at it. It will happen with time. It's a learning process forever."

When asked whether his concentration was a concern, Rohit said: "No. That's not the case at all. There's so much competition, you cannot afford to think like that. If you look at my first-class statistics, I have 16 hundreds and 20 50s, which means I hold an appetite for longer innings.

"I have three double-hundreds and a triple. I like to bat longer. Recently, on the A tour of South Africa, I played 250 balls to get my hundred in the first Test. It has not been my nature to play that kind of an innings. But eventually I was glad I did it. It was very satisfying. It is something I will keep working on."

India's next limited-overs assignment is a home series against Australia beginning on October 10.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    @sourav619. the Age factor ur taking about totally went over my head. Robin is 1 year 10months odd older than NOThit sharma.

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Robin uthappa is the Best Man to partner Dhawan.

  • QingdaoXI on September 13, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Dhawan, Rohit, Robin, Rahane, Yuvraj, Kohli, Rayudu should be the core ODI batsmen for India with Allrounders Jadeja, Dhawan, Saxena, Rassol, Meneria and Irfan. Wk Dhoni, Kartik, Tare, Samson, Kaul, Bolwers Ashwin, ojha, Mishra, Nadeem, Abdulla, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Ishant, Umesh, Aaron, Bhuvi, Shami, Mohit, Unadkat,etc

  • Rohan_K on September 13, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    @K_A_R_T_H_I_K How did Murali Vijay get into the Irani trophy side last year and then into Indian team despite lots of run other batsmen from all over the country ahead of him. Murali had done nothing last year in Ranji trophy. But selectors had a vision along with Dhoni, hence he was given prolonged opportunities despite failure and he had succeeded in the Home international season. If i were to put it in a different way than i can say Murali Vijay came only on the basis on CSK quota. Virat developed as a player more so since he played Test cricket in Australia. To be fair with Rohit despite playing for India since 2007, never got into test XI. Test cricket is where player can develop into a different level. Rohit was certain to play in Nagpur against SA 2009, but got injured on the match day and then Players like Raina were given longer run. Even i can call it CSK quota.

  • sramesh_74 on September 13, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    This man has the solid backing of the people that matter. He has been given an extremely long rope that was not extended to other talented players like Badrinath. I would love to see him open against Steyn & Co in Capetown. He is plain lucky to be in the position he is.

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    I think he is not the right man to replace Sehwag or Gambir.i think gambir should play as a test opener and sehwag as ODI opener with dhawan

  • jimbond on September 13, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Sharma may not be the best opener in ODIs, for the moment though the appears to be useful. He however definitely deserves a chance as a middle order bat in tests.

    @K_A_R_T_H_I_K: Here we are talking about opening in ODIs. When has Murali Vijay proved himself? He has an ODI average of 19. He has done nothing great in tests also. And an average of 47 in first class matches is pretty average on Indian wickets. I think Murali Vijay should be given a chance against SA in SA. So that we can close this chapter once and for all.

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    @sourav619- dude robin is 27 years n rohit is 26 years.and i think rohit is suitable for test specially n robin belongs to odi. its hightime now we should prepare an different sides for different formats. rohit must be for test n chand and robin must be given chance

  • SoundofTimber on September 12, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Rohit had his share of luck in recent series...however his inability to convert his starts worries me a lot...we cn't have everyone slashing at deliveries(Dhawan, Rohit Raina, Yuvraaj expected soon..) we need someone to value their wicket and play along the hitterz for eg. Gambhir and Virat...Still think Robin has lot to offer and his new avataar looks thin and fitter.. with inputs from Praveen Amre is working well as he is playing sensible shots thing by not wacking like Sehwag...he has shots and can still score run a ball with out taking much risk.....Avoinding Gautam in ODI will be a big mistake

  • Unmesh_cric on September 12, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    One of the main reasons India won the Champions Trophy was solid opening provided by Rohit and Dhawan. Almost all other teams struggled in that area. But people still can not stop criticizing Rohit. I think it has just become a habit/fashion to criticize him. He has scored half-centuries in almost every other game since he has been opening in ODIs recently. That has also translated into success for India in ODIs. But all he gets is criticism. Ignore all those negative comments, Rohit. I hope you make your Test debut against West Indies. Good luck!

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