Pointing out Sharma’s contrasting home and away record – he has an average of 79.52 in India, and it staggeringly drops to 27.27 outside – Sanjay Manjrekar opined that a team shouldn’t have an ageing batsman who scores big only on his home soil and falters away.
Sharma opened for the first time in England in the WTC final against New Zealand. He did get to a start with scores of 34 and 30, but couldn’t manage to convert it into a big score.
“This is also a make-or-break series for the Test batter in [Rohit] Sharma, because there is no point in having a batter with over 40 Tests under his belt, aged 34, to be in the Test team if he is going to get you big scores only in India,” Sanjay Manjrekar wrote in his column for Hindustan Times.
Also, with uncertainty around his opening partner and a fallible, out-of-form middle-order, responsibilities only increase on Sharma’s shoulders to weather the early storm of the English pacers.
Rishabh Pant could be the game-changer: Sanjay Manjrekar
Rishabh Pant is coming into the series with thunderous form since the Australia tour, carrying it into the home series against England and then the IPL. For Sanjay Manjrekar, it would the left-handed dynamo who would be the man deciding the outcome of the series, the player who would be changing games in India’s favour.
“I believe this will be a series decided by one exceptional individual performance, that one game-changer in each Test, the one who may clinch the moment and take his team surging forward.
“For India, that could be Kohli obviously, and then, for me, Rishabh Pant, especially because he has done it twice already in a short Test career. At No 6/7, Pant will be an absolute danger man against England,” the commentator further wrote.