Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stick with Rohit as opener

The good thing about Dhoni is that he is willing to experiment, and does not always go by conventional wisdom. Many an argument could have been made against sending Rohit Sharma out to open for India in their first match of the Champions Trophy in Cardiff. Primarily, the concern would have been about his loose technique in English conditions. With two new balls, two bouncers per over and field restrictions in the middle overs too, under the new ODI rules, the game will return to its traditional mode of seeing off the new balls, keeping wickets in hand and stepping up the run rate in the latter half of the innings. Dhoni and Rohit were lucky that the Cardiff wicket produced little lateral movement, and the new Indian opener came good with a stylish and solid half century in a high-scoring game. There was steep bounce, but Rohit is quite adept with the pull shot, even if he perished by it in the end. The real challenge will be on pitches like the one at the Oval, where the West Indies got past Pakistan's 170 all out with only two wickets standing. It would be good to persist with Rohit, however, even if he struggles on seaming pitches initially. He has the gift of timing and will get value for his shots when the new ball comes on to the bat, as it will do on most ODI pitches. Besides, the Indian middle order is packed, and it would be a shame to have such a talented strokemaker as Rohit sit out, as he has done for most of his career so far. Just give him a long rope. After all, even Sachin Tendulkar only became a master blaster on the sub-continent and Sharjah. He struggled as an ODI opener in England.

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