“Why Rohit? Why?” was the buzzword on social media on Saturday morning after the India opener had thrown his start away, and given Australia a sniff in the Gabba Test. Sharma tried to take on off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who was playing his 100th Test but miscued and skied a catch into the outfield to Mitchell Starc, who ran in from long-on and took a sliding catch.
How many times have we seen him do this in Test cricket? Gets a start, gets set, and then throws away his wicket with an outrageous shot. It’s a gamble he takes to unsettle Lyon, that’s alright but surely, there was a better option available.
Prior to that moment, Sharma (44) and number three Cheteshwar Pujara combined to move the total from 11 to 60 and were starting to get on top of the Australian pace bowlers before Lyon struck.
Considering the match situation, where Sharma had negotiated the difficult the opening phase and in fact, hit a boundary in the over before and one in the over from Lyon as well.
So if the question arises as to why he went for the risky shot despite being in total control at such a moment in the match can only have one answer- poor shot selection, the insatiable urge to put pressure back on the bowler, and probably a little bit of brain freeze.
Lyon vs Rohit
Credit must also be given to the bowler who lured him with flight and foxed him beautifully. There was a fielder in the deep for this shot. Rohit didn’t mind taking on the spinner but totally miscued it.
Interestingly, Lyon has dismissed Rohit while playing in Australia on all six occasions. He has also got rid of Rohit in both innings of a Test match twice.
During the Adelaide Test between India and Australia in 2018, Sharma had played a similar shot. Batting with a well-set Pujara, and the scoreboard reading 80/4 in the first innings of the first Test, Sharma tried to unsettle Lyon and hit a six which was almost caught by Marcus Harris at deep square.
On the next ball itself, Rohit once again went for the big shot and succumbed reducing India to 86/5. A similar shot to Gabba, where he steps out to use his feet and then tries to slog sweep this over deep square leg, and the skier was taken by the fielder. Once again gave away the chance to build his innings.
After his dismissal, Gavaskar, on-air for Channel 7 Cricket, questioned the “irresponsible shot” from “senior” batsman Rohit Sharma.
“Why? Why? Why? That’s an unbelievable shot. That’s an irresponsible shot. There’s a fielder there at long-on, there is a fielder there at square leg. You’ve just hit a boundary a couple of deliveries earlier, why would you play that shot? You’re a senior player, there’s no excuse, absolutely no excuse for this shot,” Gavaskar said while on air during Day 2 of the ongoing Gabba Test.
“An unnecessary wicket, an unnecessary wicket gifted away. Totally unnecessary,” Gavaskar added.
Here are some more reactions to his dismissal —
Considering the experience missing in the team, that shot from an experienced Rohit Sharma was inexcusable. #AUSvsIND
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 16, 2021
@ImRo45 🤦🏼♀️ .. you were timing so so well ..
— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) January 16, 2021
Before the fourth Test, Sharma had given a hint of his intentions when he told ANI,
The series is tied 1-1 and India needs only a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.