Rohit’s struggle versus KKR brings back not-so-good memories from the past

Rohit Sharma for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2024 (Image: IPL)

A flashback needn’t always be associated with evocative memories. For the passionate Indian cricket fans, the ICC 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal between India and England in Adelaide is one such memory, where the latter romped home to a thumping 10-wicket win. The sub-plot to that embarrassing loss was Rohit Sharma’s batting. The India skipper, batting at the top of the order, finished with a rather modest 27 off 28 deliveries. That knock of Rohit included a few heaves or flat-bat shots. 

A little less than two years later, when Rohit laboured his way to a 24-ball 19 versus Kolkata Knight Riders in the ongoing IPL 2024 at the Eden Gardens, it brought back some not-so-good memories from that World Cup game. In the third over itself, it could be noticed that Rohit’s timing was off. He flashed at one outside off, tried a hoick across the line and that was followed by a rather ungainly-looking loft. Not the kind of shots associated with Rohit’s sublime batting.

And then there was the brief contest between Rohit and Varun Chakaravarthy. In reality, there was only one winner in that mini-battle, and it wasn’t Rohit. Chakaravarthy has found his mojo in this tournament and was clearly troubling Rohit with his length and variations. Chakaravarthy also has the ability to extract a bit of bounce from his relatively high release point. On expected lines, a batter not in form couldn’t nail his shots while facing Chakaravarthy. 

Rohit brought out the revers-sweep and even tried to switch his stance, but to no avail. If you zoom on those attempted shots, it feels as if Rohit was perhaps not watching the ball closely enough. On one hand, Rohit deserves some credit for looking to expand his game. Just that extra runs aren’t given for efforts alone. Probably, for an out-of-form, it comes down to breaking it to basics in order to gauge where it is going wrong.

Just a brief glance at Rohit’s IPL stats, and you would observe he hasn’t averaged over 30 since the completion of the 2016 IPL edition. He is yet to score his runs at a strike rate of over 150 in an IPL season. Just delve deeper and do some number-crunching over his T20 World Cup numbers in the last 12 years, and one will observe that he averages 23.67 and accumulates his runs at a strike rate of 114.51 against Australia, England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa. 

Maybe, at the right time, everything will click for the Indian captain in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the USA and the Caribbean. The Indian think-tank would certainly hope so.