He has enjoyed and enjoyed his new role as test opener, but Rohit Sharma is ready to be flexible about his hitting position in the highly anticipated Test Series against Australia according to team management demands. The senior batsman is expected to play a big role alongside Test vice captain Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara when skipper Virat Kohli returns to India after the opening test for the birth of his first child. “I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told everyone all along. I’ll happily hit where the team wants, but I don’t know if they would change my role as an opener,” Rohit told PTI in an exclusive interview.
He believes the team management will have figured out his role in the batting order by the time he would reach Australia after completing the strength and conditioning work at a National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. He had sustained a minor hamstring injury during the IPL.
“I’m sure the guys already in Australia must have figured out what the options are when Virat leaves and who are the guys opening the innings,” said Rohit.
“Once I get there I’ll probably have a clearer idea of what’s going to happen. I’ll be okay to hit wherever they want,” added the dashing batsman, who has an average of 46 plus in 32 tests. .
One of the best players of the hook and pull shots, the Mumbaikar believes that sometimes the bounce on Australian tracks isn’t as big a factor as it seems to be. “We’re talking about bounce, but except for Perth, in recent years, the other grounds (Adelaide, MCG, SCG), I don’t think there is that much bounce.
“These days, especially while opening the batter, I will have to think about not playing the cut or pull shots and focus on playing in the ‘V’ and as straight as possible,” he said. He talked about how Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins or Mitchell Starc would keep up with the new kookaburra.
“With a new ball, whoever throws, be it Starc, Cummins or Hazlewood, they will clearly set it up, swing the ball and the bouncer would be used sparingly.
“They tried to get some movement out of the air or off the field with the new ball. With the new ball, everyone in the world loves to bowl up and knock down a bouncer here and there.
“So most of the deliveries will be up and down and not short,” he explained. He then cited the example of how Nathan Lyon was Australia’s best bowler (8 wickets) in the Perth Test that the home team won in the 2018 series.
“We’re talking about bounce on Australian tracks. But tell me how many people came out on bouncers during the last series?” When we played in Perth in 2018/19, it was Nathan Lyon who got eight wickets, including a five for. In Australia, half the job is done if you can start right in advance. “
For someone who started brilliantly with two hundred as the opener, followed by a double hundred in a series of three tests against South Africa, the traditional format has its own set of challenges. “It’s going to be a challenge. In general, international cricket is never easy, regardless of format. When you were fired for that long (from international cricket) it gets all the more difficult.
“So I would focus on the basics of red ball cricket and then you can complement other things. That’s how I would like to bring it up. You can’t just jump the gun and think too far ahead,” said Rohit.
Rohit said a strong foundation is the key to success in Test cricket. “Once you have a strong foundation, you can work around it and build your own technique. Mentally, that’s how you prepare,” he said.
In his 13 years in international cricket he has faced ups and downs and the only lesson that has stayed with him is to trust the process. “Mentally I am prepared and I have had enough setbacks in my career where I have had long layoffs because of an injury and because of form. I know how to get back and bounce back from that.
“For me it doesn’t matter to be three, six or a month off. What is important to me is the process,” he said.
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