Dean Jones feels that Rohit Sharma, who has had a terrible tour so far, needs to work on his defensive skills in order to do well in the Test format. Jones has also insisted that the current Indian team should be judged after 2-3 years, not just on the basis of a below-par performance in one tour.
Rohit Sharma raced to his third double-century in ODIs versus Sri Lanka in Mohali in December and at Indore, he once again went after the Sri Lankan bowlers to equal South African David Miller’s world-record 35-ball century in T20Is. The Mumbai batsman ended 2017 on a very positive note and branded the year ‘the best year in my career’ when it comes to scoring runs.
However, his performance in the Test format has always been under doubt, and his recent outing versus South Africa turned out to be a total mess in terms of scoring runs. Former Australian batsman, Dean Jones, is of the opinion that the Indian batsman needs to work on his defensive skills in order to cement a spot in the Test team.
“I look at him and he is technically sound. But the first thing that goes wrong in your game is your defence, and his (Sharma’s) defensive skills are letting him
After an impressive showing in the latter half of 2017, Sharma was given preference in the matchday XI over Test team vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane. But he failed to replicate his performance of the limited overs format and ended up scoring just 78 runs in four innings at an average of 19.50 over two matches.
“In Test cricket, 70 percent of batting is about your defence and in one-dayers, it is 40 percent. So his defensive skills are letting him down. He has got to take pride in his defensive skills like Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and even Virat Kohli,” Jones said.
But blame of losing the series does not rest on the shoulders of Sharma alone, with the majority of the batting line-up firing blanks, there was not much the skipper Kohli could do alone by himself as he battled to a hard-fought 153 to keep the hopes of the national side alive. But it was too little too late for the Indians as things quickly took a turn for the worse as they lost 7 wickets in a little over 2 hours which ultimately cost them the game.
But Jones remains optimistic over the side’s chances of doing well in the long term, as he says that it would be unfair to judge them on the basis of just one tour.
"You need to have this kind of tours to sort out your composition, to find out whether they are good enough or not. So maybe there has been too much reliance on his (Sharma’s) ODI form but all in all you have to have a series like this to find out if they are good enough. If he misses out in the next series, Ravi (Shastri) and Kohli can say ‘we gave you the opportunity,” the 56-year old said.
“Kohli can only make so many runs, you need other players to stand up. England tour is going to be interesting. There are some question marks about the guys’ techniques. They can play well. Like Tendulkar and Dravid, you got guys like Rahane and Pujara who stay side on and watch the ball late. And you got bowlers now who can bowl over 140 kmph and swing the ball. So I would like to judge this Indian team by how they do over the next two-three years. They have had just one bad tour,” Jones added.