Cricketer turned commentator Aakash Chopra feels that Indian opener Rohit Sharma’s discipline against England in the recent unfinished Test series against England was similar to that of legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar against Australia in 2004.
Rohit Sharma was phenomenal with the bat in the four Tests as he scored 368 runs from eight innings at an average of 52.57 and in the fourth Test at Oval, he registered his first overseas Test century.
The ‘Hitman’ scored 127 off 256 balls, his innings was laced with 14 fours and a six as India notched up a commanding total of 466, a lead of 367 to win the match by 157 runs.
Rohit Sharma would trust his judgement of where the off-stump was and would leave a lot of deliveries alone
Rohit made a massive change in his technical approach where he shift his gears from an attacking batsman to defending the balls very well and only going after the balls that were required to be hit.
Chopra said that Rohit had a good sense of judgement in reading the ball and he was more confident with his footwork.
“The first instinct against James Anderson and Ollie Robinson was to be defensive. Unless the ball was really full, he wouldn’t attempt driving it. He would trust his judgement of where the off-stump was and would leave a lot of deliveries alone. The ones coming in, once again, would be dealt with defensively,” Chopra wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“Sometimes you drift away from your initial plans of self-denial once the feet start moving freely and you’re more confident about the pace and bounce of the surface but Rohit’s discipline was quite similar to Sachin Tendulkar’s discipline in not playing the cover drive at all in his famous knock of 241 not out in Sydney in 2004,” he added.
Rohit Sharma’s promotion was an attempt to get him to do what Virender Sehwag did in the same role: Aakash Chopra
Rohit struggled in his early Test days when he batted in the middle-order, he averaged 39.62 batting between no.3-no.6, but has been a revelation as an opener. In just 27 innings he has amassed 1462 runs at an average of 58.48, laced by five centuries.
But since he opened against South Africa in 2019 things have completely worked in the Mumbai player’s favour and Chopra also acknowledged that Rohit’s promotion as Test opener was a revival for his Test career.
“Rohit is a runaway match-winner in white-ball cricket, but in Test cricket, his promotion to open the innings was considered a final throw of the dice to revive his career in the format, and also an attempt to get him to do what Virender Sehwag, another stroke-maker of high quality, did in the same role,” Chopra mentioned.
On September 1, Rohit achieved his career’s best Test ranking when he toppled skipper Virat Kohli to take the no.5 position in the ICC Test batting rankings.