India opening batsman Rohit Sharma put on a century stand with former captain MS Dhoni in the first ODI against Australia, but it wasn’t enough to avert defeat.
The two joined forces in dire circumstances, India having slipped to 4/3 in pursuit of 289. They helped India to a partial recovery, leading them to 141/3 before Dhoni was dismissed for 51 off 96 balls. Despite this, the wicketkeeper came under some criticism for his strike-rate, just north of 50, and there has been plenty of speculation about what his best role in the side is.
Rohit, who went on to make a valiant 133, felt No. 4 would be “ideal” for Dhoni in the future, but that fitting him in at that slot may not always be possible. “Personally always feel that Dhoni batting at No. 4 will be ideal for the team but we have got Rayudu who has done really well now at No. 4,” said Rohit. “It totally depends on what the captain and coach think about it. Personally, I would be happy if Dhoni bats at four.”
However, Rohit defended Dhoni’s ability to find the boundary – he struck just four in his knock against Australia – saying that his strike-rate was down to the match situation rather than to any diminished hitting power.
“If you look at his overall batting strike rate its 85-90, around 90,” Rohit said. “But when he came out to bat today we had already lost three wickets and the guys were bowling pretty well at that point. So we had to respect that spell and we wanted to get partnerships.”
Rohit feels his and Dhoni's styles complement each other. “It's pretty simple with him, doesn't complicate things, as he came on to bat we spoke about building a partnership because it was crucial at that point and it was great to see him come and bat at No. 5.
“We lost three early wickets but he is keen to go out there and bat and get those runs as well. So it's a good sign for us that he showed he can come out and bat any time the team wants him to bat. And with him, he tries to keep things very simple and I am pretty similar to that.”
On the game as a whole, Rohit felt it was a good learning experience, but that they will need to show what they have learned in the rest of the series. “We were obviously well behind the run rate at that point after the early damage but these things happen and these are the games that will teach you a lot as a batsman,” he said. “You will be put under pressure, there will be times when you have to combat these kind of games when you lose wickets.
“I think it was a good learning but we've said that enough about learning now, it's time to go an execute - take the pressure, absorb the pressure. International cricket is all about absorbing pressure, today was the perfect example, we were put under pressure and not able to absorb it.”
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