With Rohit Sharma again playing an atrocious shot in the first innings of the fourth Test against South Africa at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, to be dismissed for 1, his place in the Test team has come under the scanner once more. This is not the first time in his Test career, which is now over two years old that Rohit has played a poor stroke to give his wicket away. In fact, his tendency to try and dominate has got him, and the team, into trouble more than once. The position at which he plays is also a bone of contention for India. In Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri vehemently batted for him at number three. But, having failed. he was swiftly shunted down to number five.
As India ponder upon another disappointing effort by Rohit, here's a look at his Test career so far, which has taken a swift slide after a scintillating start.
Terrific debut: More than six years after having made his international debut, Rohit finally made his Test debut, in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series against West Indies at Kolkata in November 2013. And, it was worth the wait. Against a weak Windies bowling, Rohit smashed his way to 177 from 301 balls, with 23 fours and a six. Rohit could not have asked for a better debut. His added to his brilliant start in the very next game, hitting an unbeaten 111 in quick time, off 127 balls, with 11 fours and 3 sixes at his home ground in Mumbai as Tendulkar got the perfect farewell.
End of the honeymoon: As soon as Rohit headed out of home comfort, his struggles began. In the two Tests against South Africa in December 2013, he did not register a single fifty. At Johannesburg, he had scores of 14 and 6, and at Durban he made 0 and 25. India headed to New Zealand in the New Year. And, Rohit's luck changed as he made a dazzling 72 in the first innings at Auckland. He finished the series with an unbeaten 31 at Wellington. But, in between, he had scores of 19 and 0.
More failures: Rohit played in the Southampton Test in England, but struggled to deal with the conditions as managed only 28 and 6. He was chosen for the Tests against Australia, and while he looked comfortable at the crease, he did not have the runs to show for it. On more than one occasion, he got starts and got out, ending the series with only one fifty. His scores in Australia were as follows -- 43 and 6 at Adelaide, 32 and 0 at Brisbane and 53 and 39 at Sydney. And, in the only innings he played against Bangladesh at Fatullah, he managed just 6.
No 3 candidate, seriously? He batted at number three in the first innings at Galle, only to be trapped lbw having faced 24 balls for his 9. In the second innings, he came in at number four. But, it did not change his fortunes. He was clean bowled for 4. The experiment with Rohit at three did not last long, and he was sent down the order. He immediately tasted success, making 79 at Colombo, batting at number five. Looking in good nick, Rohit got starts everytime he came to the crease, but finished with disappointing scores of 34, 26 and 50.
Rohit's poor numbers continue in the ongoing series against South Africa. His three innings have been 2, 23 and 1. He hasn't scored a Test hundred in two years, and has only four fifties to show during this period. Terribly poor by Test standards.
By A Cricket Statsman