Cannot overlook Rohit's quality - Gambhir
The change of venues from windy Hambantota to humid Colombo may not change the fortunes of Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary. The team management expects much of Rohit in the 2015 World Cup and will back him "as much as possible", according to opening batsman Gautam Gambhir. Tiwary is sure to get opportunities, but whether it comes in the next game or the next series, "no one knows," Gambhir said. So basically, Rohit has the faith; Tiwary can keep the bench.
What again came out in the press conference was how highly the team management rated Rohit. Gambhir said dropping a "talented" player like Rohit - who averages 17.33 this year - would only undermine his confidence. He might not be among the runs, but Rohit was batting "the best among all of us" in the nets, and asked for more faith as he saw him "scoring a lot of runs for India in the future." Where is he going wrong at present, though? "Nowhere."
"He's done pretty well," Gambhir said. "Not on this tour, not in Australia, but he's got two Man-of-the-Series awards, in West Indies and in India. If you keep chopping and changing players like him who are so talented, you are only going to play with his confidence. He was unfortunate in the last game. You can drag the ball on [to the stumps]. It can happen to the best of players. But you have to see the bigger picture. If he is in your scheme of things for the next World Cup, obviously you have to go with him and try and give him as much confidence as possible."
Gambhir said it was a matter of time before Rohit got the runs. "Whether a person is in form or out of it, the important thing is how he is feeling about his batting. You cannot be batting well, but you can still be getting runs. If you are very comfortable with your batting, if you know that you are batting well, somewhere down the line you will score runs. We still need to show some faith in him because he is a quality player."
Getting dropped after a lean run may damage Rohit's confidence, but Tiwary's will sink lower when he makes a match-winning century, and is then left out for 13 straight games, and maybe more. All Gambhir said was that Tiwary should look to grab every chance he got.
"It is not about individuals and I don't want to talk about individuals, about how Manoj is feeling," Gambhir said. "How the team is doing is all that matters. Somewhere down the line, he will get an opportunity. If he is not getting the opportunity and the team management [believes the] playing XI they pick is the best XI to do the job on that particular day, the team management does that because ultimately it is not about individuals. It is about what results you want and what combination you want to go with.
"Whenever Manoj gets that opportunity, he should be looking forward to it and he should do well in that opportunity. Whether he gets it in the next game, whether he gets it in the next series, no one knows."
The third ODI on Saturday may make the fate of both the batsmen clearer.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo