While the focus will undoubtedly be on cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh, who will make a comeback to international cricket today in the second T20 against New Zealand at Chennai, for Rohit Sharma, this match is nothing less than a do-or-die game.
The fight for a middle-order berth in the playing XI has become extremely competitive after the inclusion of all-rounder Yuvraj. If Yuvraj impresses in his comeback match, then someone is sure to lose his place. How Rohit performs today — in the last match on Indian soil before the ICC World T20 kicks off in Sri Lanka on September 18 — will play a huge role in keeping his place in the playing XI for the big tournament.
Rohit’s childhood coach Dinesh Lad admitted that Rohit has to deliver to secure his place. “It is definitely a huge moment for Rohit. A lot will depend on how he plays today. They (selectors and skipper MS Dhoni) have placed a lot of faith in Rohit over the last few series. It is time he proves them right,” Lad told MiD DAY yesterday.
Twenty five year-old Rohit’s talent and strokeplay has always been spoken highly of, but he has not lived up to expectations.
13 runs in five ODIs
Rohit failed to capitalise on the recent tour to Sri Lanka (July 21-August 7) which was an ideal dress rehearsal for this year’s World T20. He scored just 13 runs in the five ODIs against Mahela Jayawardene’s men and went wicketless during the one-off T20 in which he did not bat.
“He has practised a lot on his return from Sri Lanka. He would reach the indoor academy at Bandra Kurla Complex early in the morning and return late in the evening. He is under some pressure, but it is important for him to play freely and keep self-confidence high,” said Lad, who coached Rohit at Swami Vivekanand High School, Kandivli.
The coach noticed that the Mumbai batsman was playing across the line too often and has advised him to play straight because those shots fetch him more runs.
“I have also advised him to watch footage of his good knocks, so that he feels good when he arrives at the crease. That will help him gain some confidence,” Lad concluded.