“A big score doesn’t imply that you have to score a century” – Ajinkya Rahane defends Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma in action for the Indian Cricket Team

Team India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has backed teammate Rohit Sharma, who has come under fire for his low scores in recent matches.

Opening the innings, Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 6 and 12 in the first Test against England in Chennai. Earlier, in Australia, he got off to decent starts in the last two Tests, but gifted his wicket away with some poor shot selection.

Speaking to the media at a virtual press conference, Rahane asserted that Rohit Sharma is a crucial part of the Indian Test team. He stated:

“Rohit (Sharma) is an important member of our team. A big score doesn’t imply that you have to score a century or 150. He made important contributions in Australia. You can’t judge a player over 4-6 innings or one or two matches.”

Rahane, who himself has faced criticism for his poor batting returns since his Boxing Day hundred, added that it is important to back match-winners like Rohit Sharma.

“You need to back your players and Rohit is the kind of cricketer who has won matches for India. We know when Rohit gets set he scores big. We’re really happy to have Rohit in the team,” Rahane further said about his Mumbai teammate.

Analyzing Rohit Sharma’s failures in the first Test, Indian batting legend VVS Laxman concluded that the opener needs to be a bit more patient early on in the innings, particularly to deliveries outside the off-stump. Laxman was quoted as saying on Star Sports:

“Rohit Sharma will be disappointed the way he got in the first innings. As a batsman you know where the bowlers are going to attack you, what is not your strength. We know Rohit Sharma has to play a little more carefully outside off-stump at the start of his innings.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator observed that Rohit Sharma did well against South Africa at home in 2019, his debut series as a Test opener, because he exercised greater restraint. Laxman explained:

“He was ready to leave deliveries when he opened against South Africa for the first time. He got an outside edge in the first innings of this Test match. So he should be ready for the balls to be bowled at that length, especially Archer with the new ball, because he gets extra bounce.”

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill look set to open the innings when India face England in the second Test starting in Chennai on Saturday.

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