The Rohit template for young India batters, ultra-aggressive England | Crickit

The Rohit template for young India batters, ultra-aggressive England

By, Hyderabad
Jan 24, 2024 08:47 PM IST

The India skipper dominated the England bowlers at home in 2021, which holds lessons for others looking to make a mark on turning tracks.

If England are looking for a template to bat on turning tracks in India, they will do well to study Rohit Sharma’s knocks against them in 2021. Which balls to defend and which shots to play, Rohit displayed his mastery in the last series here to get 345 runs at an average of 57.50 while most batters struggled.

India's captain Rohit Sharma with teammate Mohammed Siraj during a practice session (PTI)
India's captain Rohit Sharma with teammate Mohammed Siraj during a practice session (PTI)

He proved the difference between the teams with a brilliant 166 in the second Test at Chennai, backing it up with a 66 off 96 balls in a total of 145 in the third Test at Ahmedabad. It was not blind attacking; in the fourth Test he grinded it out for a 49 off 144 balls.

Get ready to catch the final stages of the World Cup only on Crickit. Anytime, Anywhere. Explore now!

Batting on spiteful turning tracks is an art mastered by few. It can be an unnerving experience. When the spinners impart more revolutions, the ball hisses towards the batter before exploding off the track with fielders circled around him ready to pounce on any error, to gobble up a bat-pad or edge. Trying to survive with dour defending is pointless because some ball will have your name on it. Powerful shots are important to make the stay at the wicket count and shake off the close cordon.

But choice of shots is the key. At the nets on Tuesday, Rohit was pointing out to KS Bharat, batting in the adjacent net, not to get the bat ahead of the pad. He showed him how the ball must be met under the nose, beside the pad and not in front of it.

Then there are subtle points to keep in mind like not committing on the front foot. A rank turner gives the batter no time and Rohit thrives on smashing the ball on the bounce, slog-sweeping full stretch or freeing up his arms for lofted off-side shots. Clean striking is the key.

Rohit skipped Wednesday’s training session to stay fresh but has prepared diligently since the T20I series ended, grinding it out in the nets. And unlike the aggression of England batters at the nets, he has taken a measured approach with focus on batting correctly.

“You need to have some sort of game plan when you're playing in these conditions. The first thing is you will need to be very clear in your mind. Then back the game plan, whether it's to come and defend tightly, whether it is to come and play some shots, sweep, reverse sweep, whatever that is. Don't be in two minds, that is where you can get yourself into trouble. And then understanding your strengths, because all of us have grown up playing in these type of conditions," Rohit told a news conference on the eve of the series opener at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Sage words for younger teammates Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shreyas Iyer, who have limited Test experience at home. It isn’t just about technique. “It's just about handling that pressure of playing a Test, handling that pressure of quality spells from the opposition. That's what it is. Nothing changes because we all play Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy, but the pressure of a Test match is different; the quality of the bowling is different. So that is the challenging part that you need to handle,” Rohit said.

“And then obviously, we don't get too much involved in the personal style of play of certain individuals. That is what will give you success. You stick to your strengths, stick to your plan and then go out and do that fearlessly."

Rohit will be the prize wicket for England bowlers, especially with no Virat Kohli. Before he gets to demoralise the England spinners, Mark Wood’s extra pace with the new ball will be one weapon they will aim at him.

Woods will try and tempt Rohit with short-pitched bowling, aware how he loves horizontal bat shots. “Bumps (bouncers) are rarely out here. But the pitch sometimes can be two-paced, and if slow it can help because the batters will be through the shot (early). Someone like Rohit, I know how good he is on the short ball, I’ll have to be really accurate with it,” Wood said.


This series will make for captivating viewing also because Rohit’s opposite number Ben Stokes too believes in a no-holds-barred approach. No sitting back and letting the game flow for them; both emphasise on seizing the moment.

Since embracing Bazball, England haven't lost a Test series while India are unbeaten at home since the 2012-13 loss to England. Though the hosts start favourites, Rohit played it down.

“By no means whatever record we have in the past decade also gives us the guarantee that we are going to come out here on top as well and win the series. We still have to play our best cricket, good cricket that we know we play in, you know, these conditions. England is a very good team. They play their Test cricket really well. The last team to beat us in our conditions was England. We're talking about a decade ago, but still the quality in the team is there. It will be important that we stick to our strengths and do the things we know how to do. I won't say we are not unbeatable ...we want to think that if we don't step up, well, we are going to find ourselves in trouble,” Rohit said.

There's more at stake than pride and the trophy. The series holds significance for the 2023-25 ICC World Test Championship cycle. India are second in the table and England eighth.

Get World Cup ready with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!

See more

Stay updated with the latest cricket news, T20 World Cup 2024 updates and match highlights. Explore the World Cup Schedule 2024, track the World Cup Points Table, follow Virat Kohli's performance, and stay ahead with the stats on World Cup Most Wickets and World Cup Most Runs on the Hindustan Times website and app.

Share this article
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On