Rohit Sharma told to fix major batting 'loophole' as form takes a hit before T20 World Cup: 'That match-up is a worry' | Crickit

Rohit Sharma told to fix major batting 'loophole' as form takes a hit before T20 World Cup: 'That match-up is a worry'

May 03, 2024 08:56 AM IST

Rohit Sharma hasn't been at his best over the past few matches for the Mumbai Indians.

Mumbai Indians' former captain Rohit Sharma has had a mixed season with the bat in IPL 2024. While he made a strong start and also notched up a century during the side's match against Chennai Super Kings last month, his numbers went down significantly following the ton. In fact, in his last three innings, Rohit has failed to breach double figures, invoking certain concerns over the Indian captain's form ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Mumbai Indians' Rohit Sharma reacts as he walks back to pavilion after being dismissed by Delhi Capitals' Khaleel Ahmed (AP)
Mumbai Indians' Rohit Sharma reacts as he walks back to pavilion after being dismissed by Delhi Capitals' Khaleel Ahmed (AP)

One of the patterns in Rohit's dismissals in this IPL has been his struggles against left-arm pacers. In this IPL, Rohit has fallen to left-arm fast bowlers on five occasions (twice against Trent Boult, once each to Sam Curran, Khaleel Ahmed, and Mohsin Khan). The Indian captain's struggles against left-armers aren't new, but Rohit had found a way to tackle the issues with a counter-attacking approach.

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However, the potential return of Rohit's concerns doesn't augur well right before the T20 World Cup; India are scheduled to play against Pakistan in the group stage of the tournament, who boast one of the leading left-arm pacers in Shaheen Afridi. Additionally, a number of other quality left-armers taking part in the marquee tournament would be keeping an eye on Rohit's batting form this IPL.

Former India opener Wasim Jaffer opened up on Rohit's ‘loophole’ in great detail as Mumbai Indians return to action on Friday night against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“He had his problems against left-arm spinners. The way he plants his front leg, you could always feel that anything that's coming in will trouble him. Even right-handed bowlers have found a way to get him out. But left-armers create an angle which makes it more difficult. In the recent past, he has gone after them; he tries to slog them and sometimes walks towards the bowler to negate the swing,” Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo.

“He had his problems. I thought Trent Boult got him out nicely with an away-swinger, which he wouldn't have expected. He mistimed a drive against Khaleel, so I won't call it a well-planned dismissal. But there's a loophole in his game which he knows. He tries to counter-attack and get them off their line, and that is smart from him. He tries to avoid the problem through his attacking skills.”

Take some time at the crease

Jaffer advised Rohit not to take the aggressive route from ball one, and rather focus on timing the deliveries on their merit in the initial couple of overs.

"I think he's got decent numbers against Mitchell Starc. And Starc's form is a concern, Rohit knows that. Rohit also hasn't scored the runs in his last four matches, so he will be keen to get into the World Cup with a bit of form.

“I feel Rohit needs to take a little bit more time; he's trying to muscle the ball too early in his innings. He can take a couple of overs to get himself in and look to time the ball rather than trying to hit it too hard. It's going to be an interesting match-up, as any left-handers for Rohit Sharma is a little bit of worry,” said Jaffer.

Rohit has 315 runs in 10 IPL matches this year, boasting a strike rate of 158.29.

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