Middle-order batsman hits good form in time for the group stages of ICC World Twenty20 2012
Rohit Sharma’s season got off to the worst possible start when he mustered just 13 runs in five innings during India’s limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in July-August this year.
To suggest that redemption might come in the same country might appear a little far-fetched, but Sharma has signalled a welcome return to run-scoring ways with two excellent outings in India’s warm-up games ahead of the ICC World Twenty20.
Rohit made a 26-ball 37 against Sri Lanka during India’s 26-run win on Saturday (September 15), then followed it up with a 40-ball 56 against Pakistan on Monday (September 17), if only in a losing cause. India bowled patchily and fielded poorly as it failed to defend 185 for 3, going down by five wickets with five deliveries to spare.
“That tour of Sri Lanka was very frustrating but everyone showed their faith in me and I have certainly worked very hard on my batting and my fitness, and it is showing,” said Rohit after the loss to Pakistan. “It is just a start and there is still a long way in the tournament. After that tour, I had a 25-day break and I made full use of it.
“Hard work never stops, and whether you are in form or out of form, you got to just keep working hard. I will try my best to do what the team needs me to do. I wanted to make full use of these warm-up games as it is important to enter a tournament with good form. At the same time, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.”
India as a side is heavy reliant on a start and while Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag did add 41 in 28 deliveries, they didn’t go on to form a substantial partnership, as they haven’t for a while now. “It is very important in any format to get a good start,” conceded Rohit. “They have been batting really well, there is no doubt. I am sure in the coming days they will come good. They are very experienced and it is just a matter of one game.”
India’s bowling, with the exception of R Ashwin who took 4 for 23, was well below par on Monday. “Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way” said Rohit. “186 was a good target on this wicket because I thought there was a bit of help for the spinners, but it was one of those days when things didn’t come together. We have one more day before our actual game (against Afghanistan on September 19). We should bounce back.”
“Even though it was a warm-up game, we were very focussed and intense and we wanted to win this game,” said Rohit. “It was just that our bowling didn’t click and that was frustrating. If you have to win a game, everything has to click together. Our bowlers did a good job in the first game and helped us defend 146 (against Sri Lanka), which was not a par score on that pitch. I am sure we will come good as the tournament progresses. It was just one of those bad days. We will come hard against Afghanistan and take it from there.”