Sunil Gavaskar praised Rohit Sharma for his determined 83 which helped India defeat England and claim the series in Mohali on Wednesday. The former cricketer however had words of caution and said he found the batsman making similar mistakes.
Rohit opened the innings for India after England notched up 257 runs. While Gambhir fell early, the Mumbai batsman - criticised heavily for his recent lack of form - played 93 deliveries for his 83. "Look, as far as his talents are concerned, there is no doubt in anybody's mind because he has got the talent and has got shots to play all around the dial. But as I keep saying that if your shot selection is not all right, if your temperament lets you down then it doesn't matter. Even today he escaped when that catch by Pietersen went down. It was a very tough catch but where was the need to have played that shot?" said Gavaskar, speaking to NDTV, adding that on a day luck went the other way, Rohit would have been in the pavilion. "Had that happened, I don't think he would have got too many chances.
Gavaskar was referring to a Tim Bresnan delivery which Rohit tried to smash over extra-cover but only being able to meet the ball with the toe-end of his bat. Kevin Pietersen ran back but could not catch the ball. The batsman was on 12.
Skipper MS Dhoni and man-of-the-match at Mohali in Suresh Raina though praised Rohit and said he was a gifted player who has been unable to make his chances count. For reference though, Rohit has indeed not made his numerous opportunities count. Virat Kohli, for example, was playing U-19 cricket when Rohit hit his first fifty for India. Yet, it was on Wednesday that Rohit reached 2000 ODI runs while Kohli has 4000.
India's search for an opener has been ardent but Gavaskar feels only time will tell if Rohit can take a more permanent position at that spot. "He should have achieved a lot more (with the opportunities given to Rohit). But only he can answer why he has not delivered. He still has age on his side. If he can pick up a few lessons from Kohli, then Indian batting can be really strengthened."
For now though, Rohit seems to be a content man. "Thank you Mohali...amazing series win," is what he wrote after the match on his Twitter page.
Thank u mohali...amazing series win!- Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) January 23, 2013