India news September 12, 2013

Rohit happy with new role as opener

ESPNcricinfo staff
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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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • warneneverchuck on September 12, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    He is far better than likes of murli vijay

  • penagamuri on September 12, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    This is the major problem with Indian fans. We are probably the only country in the world with such talent pool. Autralia would have killed to have a player like Rohit in their team. Had Rohit been in any other team he would have played atlest 40 tests by now. Even though I did not like his attitude in complaining about Indian fans having higher expectations, because, no great players will ever complain about fan expectations sachin has to deal with since he was 13. Virat has been dealing since he is 17. I have been a huge Rohit fan but I started disliking his approach to an innings lately. He is valuing his wicket more but at the expense of his natural flamboyant batting, which, on the first place got this fan base and support of his team heads and selectors. No matter what Rohit should be tried out in tests and then we can make a wise decision about him serving team india in future.

  • Harikrishna.Pydipati on September 12, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Sachin picked him and Kohli as potential breakers of 100 international centuries. Can expectations get any bigger than that? Hope Rohit realizes that people expect because they see talent in him, takes them on a positive note and use it build confidence.

  • IndCricFan2013 on September 12, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    How many examples do we have, middle order Indian batsman, converted to opener and succeeding? We have numerous failures. Shewag is the only one converted opener with success, but that is because of his hit and miss style of play. I wish Rohit could succeed. If at all, others get as many chance as Rohit did and at so many positions. More than 100 ODI's for Rohit, equal to Virat Kohli, only half the total runs as Virat and worst 2 hundreds Vs Virat's 15. There are so many opening batsman that India could pick from than Rohit trying too hard to fit in. They could be given at least 1/3rd of what Rohit got. i.e, 35 ODI's. or 1/5th, 20 ODIs???

  • sourav619 on September 12, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    even after match winning contributions he gets the stick from fans for not concentrating hard enough,yes the expectations of fans are always high and never ending and he already knows and in recent past he has been doing quite well personally i am very happy with rohit's growth as an opener but some fans thinks robin utthapa should open just because he played well against mediocre new zealand A side even u.chand played well should he be also be considered as opener in place of rohit??i don't think so and as a matter of fact UTHHAPA is yet to score a DOUBLE century in firstclass cricket and his age is almost 30 whereas rohit has age in his side.

  • on September 12, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    Rohit is my fav player. He has class in his batting. His timing is superb. Its consistency all are looking for in rohit. He has been consistent in recent matches. Lets see where he goes from here. Playing for India in Test matches should be his goal.

  • K_A_R_T_H_I_K on September 12, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Murali Vijay, despite being talented and a genuine test opener, who has proven himself in the last test series against quality Aussie bowling attack, unfortunately doesn't have such media hyped backing. Unless such regional favoritism and selection bias ends, India will never retain the top slot it deserves.

  • Naresh28 on September 12, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Lot of negative comments about Rohit - in the last few months, he has won matches for India in ODI's. Facts speak for themselves, however its welcome news for India that so many batsman are coming up:- ZOL, LOKESH, JUNEJA, UTHAPPA, MENARIA Quite frankly it looks like UTHAPPA could be a better bet than Rohit to partner Dhawan in the WC - both should be part of the team. Menaria has also made a statement with his batting/bowling. For NZ's A tour to India - the were lots of positives that can make NZ come up again.

  • SoverBerry2 on September 12, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    "skills to handle the moving ball"? We had enough of his skill.

  • on September 12, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    He is not the right man to replace Sehwag or Gambir

  • on September 12, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is lucky with amount of chances he got. However, if he fails as opener it could be curtains for him. Good to see the way MS Dhoni puts faith in players by backing dem (as also seen with Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, etc)

  • on September 12, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    soon you are going to get tough competitiion from robin uthappa version 2.0..he is ready to make it big again for india....and he is real talent and not so called overrated talent like u..

  • pull_shot on September 12, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Just scored some 50's and he is saying people will expect 150's frm him there r days people expected atleast 10 runs from him where as usual he just failed. please dont over react. with little success

  • on September 12, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    well rohit is mah fab for longer formats as we can witness his recent form in rsa which is preety notable.. hope sachin retires at the end of home season n give chance to another mumbaiker..

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  • on September 12, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    well rohit is mah fab for longer formats as we can witness his recent form in rsa which is preety notable.. hope sachin retires at the end of home season n give chance to another mumbaiker..

  • pull_shot on September 12, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Just scored some 50's and he is saying people will expect 150's frm him there r days people expected atleast 10 runs from him where as usual he just failed. please dont over react. with little success

  • on September 12, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    soon you are going to get tough competitiion from robin uthappa version 2.0..he is ready to make it big again for india....and he is real talent and not so called overrated talent like u..

  • on September 12, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is lucky with amount of chances he got. However, if he fails as opener it could be curtains for him. Good to see the way MS Dhoni puts faith in players by backing dem (as also seen with Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, etc)

  • on September 12, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    He is not the right man to replace Sehwag or Gambir

  • SoverBerry2 on September 12, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    "skills to handle the moving ball"? We had enough of his skill.

  • Naresh28 on September 12, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Lot of negative comments about Rohit - in the last few months, he has won matches for India in ODI's. Facts speak for themselves, however its welcome news for India that so many batsman are coming up:- ZOL, LOKESH, JUNEJA, UTHAPPA, MENARIA Quite frankly it looks like UTHAPPA could be a better bet than Rohit to partner Dhawan in the WC - both should be part of the team. Menaria has also made a statement with his batting/bowling. For NZ's A tour to India - the were lots of positives that can make NZ come up again.

  • K_A_R_T_H_I_K on September 12, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Murali Vijay, despite being talented and a genuine test opener, who has proven himself in the last test series against quality Aussie bowling attack, unfortunately doesn't have such media hyped backing. Unless such regional favoritism and selection bias ends, India will never retain the top slot it deserves.

  • on September 12, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    Rohit is my fav player. He has class in his batting. His timing is superb. Its consistency all are looking for in rohit. He has been consistent in recent matches. Lets see where he goes from here. Playing for India in Test matches should be his goal.

  • sourav619 on September 12, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    even after match winning contributions he gets the stick from fans for not concentrating hard enough,yes the expectations of fans are always high and never ending and he already knows and in recent past he has been doing quite well personally i am very happy with rohit's growth as an opener but some fans thinks robin utthapa should open just because he played well against mediocre new zealand A side even u.chand played well should he be also be considered as opener in place of rohit??i don't think so and as a matter of fact UTHHAPA is yet to score a DOUBLE century in firstclass cricket and his age is almost 30 whereas rohit has age in his side.