The captain of India, MS Dhoni, was pleased with the performance of Rohit Sharma in the 4th ODI and was positive that the batsman will feel more confident.
Sharma was asked to open the innings in the fourth One Day International against the visiting England since the Blue Shirts openers were unable to provide a reasonable start to their innings. It was only the fourth time in his entire career that Sharma opened the innings for India.
Rohit Sharma is labelled as a specialist limited overs batsman and has only appeared in the ODIs and Twenty20 encounters. He made his debut vs. Ireland in the ODI on June 23, 2007, at Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast. The young gun was not required to bat in the game since the Men in Blue won the match by a huge margin of nine wickets.
The 25-year-old has participated in 87 ODIs, scored 2061 runs at an average of 31.22 runs, the best of 114 with 2 centuries and 13 fifties.
Sharma managed his last fifty in that version of the game by scoring 68 runs against Pakistan in the 5th match of the Asia Cup which was played on March 18, 2012, at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. He had a miserable tour of Sri Lanka where the Blue Shirts played five ODIs series. The right hand batsman scored 13 mere runs at a dismal average of 2.60 with the best of five. He played one match against the visiting Pakistan on December 30, 2012, at Chennai but scored just one run. His last six innings accounted for 5, 0, 0, 4, 4, and 4 runs and he finally got back his rhythm in the fourth ODI against England.
Rohit Sharma opened the innings with Gautam Gambhir as India was chasing a target of 258 set by the Englishmen. He shared a 52 runs second wicket partnership with Virat Koli followed by another association of 68 with Suresh Raina for the fourth wicket before he lost his wicket for a valuable 83 runs scored from 93 balls comprising 1 six and 11 fours. The hosts got a solid beginning and ended up winning the important match by a good margin of five wickets. That victory earned them a series win as well and they lead it 3-1 with one match remaining.
MS Dhoni was relieved with the achievement of Sharma in the fourth ODI and confirmed that the batsman could have got another chance in the next game even if he had been unable to provide the required results in this match. Dhoni said,
“I don’t know what would have happened if Rohit had not scored runs or in any other scenario. The best that we could have done was give him another chance in Dharamsala and then see, because we are not playing too many ODIs after that. We all felt he is very talented, he got an opportunity in the last series in Sri Lanka where he got a few good deliveries.”
Gautam Gambhir is a traditional opener who believes in building his innings in the classic way of scoring whereas Rohit takes his chances right from the word go. Dhoni believed that the team requires at least one opener to carry on with the business by his aggression even if the other is slow and Rohit can fill that gap. The skipper further commented,
“We all felt he is someone who can be a really good opener, in the sense he cuts and pulls really well. Also, with two openers, you want one of them to be slightly more aggressive than the other. I think he accepted the challenge.”
India has already won the series and will anticipate wrapping it 4-1 by winning the last game at Dharamsala. Rohit Sharma can play a leading role in that match as well by providing another attacking beginning to the team.