Well there is no denying about the talent which Sharma possesses. Since the time Rohit and Kohli are playing together, most of the cricketing pundits and ex-cricketers have stated clearly that Rohit is the more talented one than Kohli but just a bit lazy compared to Kohli.
His effortless shots, stand and deliver attitude to the bowlers, orgasmic timing but very less footwork is a treat to the eyes when he is his zone but at times he has also struggled because of his laziness and no footwork in the initial part of his innings.
His footwork increases as and when he spends more time at the crease, in the first 2-3 overs he faces he rarely engages in footwork, starts off lazily and that’s where bowlers and especially the left-arm fast bowlers have troubled him a lot. Sharma had a difficult time against Mohamad Amir and Pakistani fast bowlers at one stage and against many bowlers in the 1st part of his career.
Considering now he is at the peak of his career and is highly likely to get an opportunity to play in Tests too, there are some things he can imbibe from our former greats Sachin, Dravid, Laxman & Sehwag to make a roaring comeback to Test Cricket.
Even though the bowling attack of Australia is not even 10% fearful than what it was a decade ago but still Australia have got bowlers in their kitty who can bowl upto 150 kmph. They have also got some promising spinners. The wickets will be generating a lot of pace and bounce and the likes of Starc can make his life miserable. Rohit anyway has a history of struggling in the initial phases against Left arm fast bowlers. The one thing he can take from Dravid is keeping the mind calm. Yes the bowlers may hit you a few bouncers, there may be swing and misses, but if that would make him go impatient and go for the big shots, it may become risky. Rather, spend some time at the crease and develop the momentum first by reading the bowlers like how Dravid used to do will make a world of a difference to his Test Career.
Desert Storm by Sachin
Sachin played at a time when bowlers consisted of Warne, Machill, Gillespie, Brett Lee and Mcgrath, it was genuinely difficult to score against them on their own ground. But what Sachin did was he would always study the entire fieldset, where the fielders are placed, where the bowlers are bowling from, what is the strategy adopted by the opposite team. Just because he was good at staright drive and cover drive would not mean that you got to hit those shots only, because there are high chances fielders will be placed at your areas of strength. Sachin found gaps on Australia wickets where the bowlers did not even imagine off, he made runs by finding the areas to score on the ground rather than just hitting it them blindly. If Rohit also approaches the same brainwork at the crease, there are high chances of him able to score runs more freely.
His 233 & 72 at Adelaide vs Aus maybe still fresh in many cricket lovers minds!
It’s technically not possible to match “The Wall’s footwork” but even if a batsman manages to master even 50% of his skills. He/she has done his job! Dravid’s nimble footwork against the spinners, shot selection, his temperament and timing against the fast bowlers is something a matter of content for the young cricketers to learn. His footwork is something which will be selected as a thesis for learning batting in the next generations to come and so can Sharma imbibe a few techniques by having a look at Dravid’s some exceptional knocks in Australia.
Sachin & Laxman’s Approach
VVS Laxman & Sachin’s approach overseas and especially in Australia was quite clear. To forget and move on. Many a times Warne sledged, many a times Lee smashes a few on their head and many times Mcgrath proved too difficult to handle. But they did not let that horror sink in, neither did they showed their vulnerability or fear to the bowlers. Sachin simply ignored it while Laxman was so cool he would act like as if nothing has happened, just shook hands and move on. The bowlers in Australia try their best to take you down if not by tearway bowling then through their aggressive on field behavior but the one who surpasses everything conquers Australia.
Many may still remember, Sehwag was hit by dangerous bouncers not once, not twice but thrice in the same session by Mcgath and Brett Lee in a Test in Australia. Most of the batsman would have given up in such dreadful conditions in Australia, what sehwag did was simply outstanding, he did not even looked at Lee or Mcgrath after being hit by bouncers and verbal sledges, rather he smashed boundaries in the very next deliveries and dominated Australia in Australia. That was the reason Sehwag averaged above 40+ with a strike rate of 90+ in Australia.
Also who can forget Sehwag’s vintage 195 at Melbourne in 2003 where he treated big bully bowlers like someone bowling to him from club cricket! The moral of the story is simply not let the fear sink in, no matter how vicious the line of the bowler is, no matter how much you are being sledged and no matter how many bouncers you have faced, if you want to conquer the aussies, there is a simple mantra, be confident and move on.