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The enigma that is Rohit Sharma

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Rohit_Sharma_India_cricket_talentWith the Australian Open still doing its final rounds, one name that has caught everyone by the throat is Sloane Stephens. This 19 year old has displayed some of the best tennis and even surpassed the ever so dangerous Serena Williams. She is a talented prodigy who has got the best possible start to her career. Unfortunately she couldn't put up much of a fight against Azarenka.

So, how important is talent for a player who wants to be rated as a great player?

Talent is a word that makes a player stand apart from the rest. They have that ex-factor that makes them superior. The word talent is used quite instantly in the cricket arena as well. A batsman producing a gem of a knock and a bowler taking 5 wickets are termed as talented who are the ones to keep an eagle eye on in the near future. However, John Wooden stated, “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.”

For the statement to be proved true here’s a story. On March 2, 2008 Rohit Sharma became a common name in each Indian household. His partnership of 125 with Sachin Tendulkar while chasing the target against Australia ensured India a win. Rohit Sharma became a star who had the talent and technique that would make him a superstar.

As the Australian tour got over, opportunity started turning into failure. He became one of those frustrating cricketers for India who on one day made batting look ridiculously easy and the very next the same classy batsman would succumb to one of the poorest deliveries of the match.

The team management suddenly started showing him signs of uncertainty and after all the batting positions had been tried and tested, Rohit Sharma finally was dropped from the side. A former Indian cricketer said, “Rohit has the talent and technique to make a big name in the cricketing world but it’s his temperament that leads to his downfall”. Well, that pretty much explained his inconsistency. His lazy elegance was immediately termed as simply lazy; his feet arrived a bit late to the pitch of the ball. Well, that’s what talent can do to a player. It makes him look pedestrian when things don’t go according to plan.

An amazing IPL season each time made his case strong to be considered for the selection process. But, on most occasions he was seen warming the bench.

When India last toured South Africa Rohit Sharma was given the role of an opener when Sachin Tendulkar got injured. He was a complete failure in those two innings he opened for India. In the fourth match against England in the ongoing series he was designated the same role and he had to accept it since there wasn’t any other position available for him in the side. It was a glorious sight for anyone who witnessed that innings.

His pull against Steven Finn for a six generated awe and his cut against Tredwell pulled out comments from some of the wise men of the game. Ravi Shastri while commentating straight away said, “Here is a guy for the Test arena”. Do these words from heavy weights bog him down? After 87 games and having an average of 31.22, Rohit Sharma still seeks a quality that can make him a long term player for India.

The Indian team management will have to stick with him as an opener for a longer time now. There is no chance for him in the middle order any more. With Gautam Gambhir struggling and Sehwag unlikely to make a comeback, this might well be a blessing in disguise for Sharma.

With the voices echoing in the backdrop for him to be given a chance in Tests, his performance in ODIs will have to be substantially enough for the selectors to consider him. His record in first class cricket would work with him as he has an average of above 61. For Test cricket to be his priority, it cannot be just talent that would help him. There is no doubt how important a factor luck is for a player but when an opportunity arrives in your lean patch you must grab it with an eagle’s claw.

A day will arrive for Rohit Sharma when he would realize that greatness is a virtue achieved by those who compliment talent with temperament. A solid temperament will always have an upper hand over a solid technique.

Well, Rohit Sharma is an enigma whose solution lies with Rohit Sharma. Sloane Stephens will face the same task as Rohit Sharma did. Hope, she makes us tell a different tale as sometimes talent when honed in the right direction yields long term results.



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