Rohit Sharma's below-par show a cause for concern
As much as India have failed to make a mark in this series, it is the inability of not being able to find a way back that has frustrated the visitors. The batsmen in particular tried to force their way out of trouble, only plunging deeper into the mire.cricket Updated: Feb 04, 2014 12:38 IST
As much as India have failed to make a mark in this series, it is the inability of not being able to find a way back that has frustrated the visitors. The batsmen in particular tried to force their way out of trouble, only plunging deeper into the mire.
The dip in form of Rohit Sharma has been one of the big concerns. The batsman who can captivate purists and neo fans alike can also leave them baffled by suddenly appearing to be not even involved in the game.
He dazzled in the home ODI series against Australia and followed it up with back-to-back centuries on his debut Test series against West Indies. Since then, it has been a struggle against sustained pace, in South Africa and in New Zealand.
His ODI opening partner Shikhar Dhawan too has looked out of sorts since the South Africa tour began, a far cry from the batsman who dazzled on Test debut and was brilliant in the Champions Trophy triumph in England.
On Monday, Dhawan missed the warm-up tie against a New Zealand XI, after Ishant Sharma's inconsistency caused the team headache as he can be effective on these pace-friendly pitches. Rohit spent time in the middle, scoring a half-century, thought far from fluent.
Although Virat Kohli has been in good touch, Cheteshwar Pujara has not had enough time getting used to conditions. That means the team will be hoping Rohit Sharma will be among those who can anchor the fight back when the first Test starts in Auckland on Thursday.
While New Zealand have built their innings in old-fashioned style and hit India's batsmen with bounce, coach Duncan Fletcher and Co. don't seem to have found any way to counter the tactics.
Rohit Sharma was confident he will overcome the recent run of failures, but didn't given any insight into how he intended to do that. "My state of mind is really good, nothing to worry about it. I am enjoying my game and it is a different ball-game now," he said.
He admitted players will need to be mentally tough as well. "It was very disappointing to lose the series. But we have to focus on what is coming next. We know we will be playing away for a while now. Everyone knows what is in front of us."
Rohit wanted to look back to India's 2009 series win here for inspiration instead of thinking about what happened in the last fortnight, but the visitors have little time to regroup.
"We will travel tomorrow and the day after is the only day we get to see what we can do…We got to get back together as soon as possible because there is only one day to have a good team session. It is really important we get together and play as a team. We have to do well in partnerships, whether it is bowling or batting."
Not making a turnaround will push the team closer to another disastrous tour like 2002.