The Talented Mister

He is coming. Are you ready in pose to get lays?

A man-date. Indeed.

I knew India were going out of the World Cup the moment Botha dropped Rohit Sharma’s catch.

I have no idea why but there seems to be concerted effort on the part of the powers-that-be to get Rohit Sharma to succeed. Which explains that even after an innings in which he scored at a net strike-rate of 92 while around him three other batsmen who got starts scored at 130, 140 and 176, he was given the ball ahead of India’s designated spin-spearhead Ashwin.

The hope was obvious: somehow Rohit Sharma gets a wicket by fluke and then the label of “success” is stuck proudly on his chest.

It didn’t work. The man gave away 13 runs at a time when we could ill-afford to give more than 6.

Of course, none of it matters to the narrative. Rohit Sharma is extremely talented. After all, as the magazine cover above says “Why other Indian men in TUX look like waiters”, with the honorable exception being him.

And with this talent, he will keep playing. And keep being a player.

Maybe it’s just me but I find a striking resemblance between Rohit Sharma and Rahul Gandhi. Rohit. Rahul. Both favorite Yash Chopra names. Both of them have been preordained to be great, one by virtue of birth and another by virtue of talent shown “at the nets”. In order to prove their “awesomeness” they are given an almost unlimited number of opportunities , so many that ultimately, by the laws of averages, they will click. Once. Or perhaps twice. And then everyone will turn around and say “Aha see I told you so.” Sure, he may be rested for a series or so, perhaps replaced by a talent like Jadeja who I am sure has displayed his potential in India A vs India B , a move that would be like replacing Rahul Gandhi with Priyanka Gandhi, but ultimately Rohit will come back, like a counterfeit sikka.

The new selection committee (picture to left) under Sandeep Patil may prove me wrong but I am not counting on it.

I know I am being unfair to Rohit Sharma. The team has not been eliminated just because of him. (He is a big factor no doubt).

But he represents, right now, one of the things that is so very wrong with the Indian team. The persistence with certain players. Sehwag I understand. At least he has had a great career and one always expects, perhaps irrationally, that a Sehwag game-changing special is right round the corner, as opposed to the Yousuf Pathan special he played today (one six and bowled).

Even Ravinder Jadeja I understand. Indians want a spinning all-rounder and there really aren’t many options.

But Rohit Sharma? Irreplaceable based on amazing batting displays in the nets and potential displayed in 2007 and 2008 and in a few innings in the IPL? It’s evident that Manoj Tiwary does not have the faith of the skipper. Well then bring in Ambati Rayadu. Bring in anyone. I thought that the very least that IPL does is unearth T20 middle-order biffers.

Evidently not.

The replacements may be better than Rohit. They may be worse. But at least give them a quarter of the chances this man is getting.

But we know that won’t happen. We will wait for Rohit to perform. And so, as this picture shows, will he.

[Some pictures courtesy Rohit Sharma fan club on FB]


41 thoughts on “The Talented Mister

  1. Shuhbi (@shuhbi) October 2, 2012 — 8:56 pm

    Haha..Pretty quick post GB. Nonetheless, uplifted spirits a bit!

  2. As Poirot would have said -one wonders.

  3. Sehwag undoubtedly is a great player but he seriously lacks a responsible attitude. Its high time he says goodbye to his ‘mujhe kya farak padta hai’ attitude given that India depends on him in such situations like today.

  4. we will miss fiery pace of Balaji as well….(weeping)

  5. Eagerly waits for one Mr Sharma to show his prowess.. Sigh I’m sure even a Ranji probable would have been better.. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    Shall continue to hope.. Sigh
    In other news.. Loved the Sandeep Patil picture.. Perfect

  6. This is precisely why I am so anti-IPL. IPL basically breeds a cohort of mediocre cricketers who simply cannot make it at the big stage (yes, the people will keep coming back with one or two counterexamples out of a total player pool of about 250-300).

    It is IPL that has made Rohit Sharma a “star”. Come next IPL, he will be deemed public hero by whatever team he turns out to play. As for adorning the national colours, they fade from public memory pretty soon.

    Champions League is here, after all. I’m sure a few cute sixes will find him in the whites ahead of Ajinkya Rahane against the Poms.

  7. Agree 100% on Rohit. However don’t you think Pujara has done enough to merit a selection ahead of the Rayudus and Rahanes?

  8. GB, what has your level come to? Can’t believe you can write such drivel! Though I am no fan of Rohit Sharma, was disgusted by your factually incorrect article. You need to appreciate that you are very popular in the blogosphere and well liked by a lot of people for your insightful and witty blogs. To post such biased articles will damage your reputation more than Rohit Sharma’s.

    For your information, Rohit Sharma had the highest strike rate and second highest average (after Kohli) amongst Indian batsmen in the World Cup. You can cross-check, if you doubt. He also played brilliantly in the warm-up matches. To compare strike rates with others in just one match is unjustified and probably malafide. You can make as much fun of people as you like, if you are factually correct, otherwise you leave your fans disappointed.
    PS: Believe, me the pictures above are not funny.

  9. Hahahaha, O God, I laughed so hard that I literally peed my pants ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. GB,

    India wants a “Spinning” all-rounder? ๐Ÿ˜›

    By the way, I expect nothing less of selectors who allow a gas-bag like Ishant Sharma to walk straight into the national team after years of mediocrity and months of surgery…

  11. @Sumit,

    So Rohit Sharma does have a reputation then?

    And what do you think about Manoj Tiwari?

  12. facts correct or not blah blah… awesome article… just for saying all the stuff every Indian wanted to say about rohit Sharma. what raina has been like on foreign soils, rohit is showing on subcontinent pitches. awful. too scared/ irresponsible at times.

  13. In terms of talent Rohit Sharma is right up there with the best in the world. I am not shy of saying (again purely in terms of talent) that he is up there or atleast very close with the Tendulkars, Lara’s and the Michael Clarke’s. Mentally it’s another story. My point is that he seems special and his case might not be so simple.

  14. Sumit, Rohit Sharma’s ODI run-rate (I mention ODI because we have a sufficiently significant sample size to make a call) is 78.20 (which is laughable by today’s standards for a middle-order bat) and his average is 30.84. Compare that to Yuvi (avg= 38 and strike rate=87.58) and “untalented” Raina (avg=35.56 and strike rate=93.66) and guess who is being “Factually incorrect”. Even in T20s, Rohit Sharma’s career strike-rate is below Yuvi and Raina. I wish we had other people to compare Rohit to in the middle order but no one else gets even a quarter of Rohit’s chances. Now take those facts in your pipe and smoke.

  15. It’s rather simple, Rohit Sharma is in the team because there must be one batsmen from the Mumbai school of batting. There is no other reason for it.

  16. Ha Ha Ha!! Very good article. This one is great read.

  17. The Rohit Sharma-Rahul Gandhi analogy was terrific. Here’s Harsha Bhogle on Rohit Sharma:

  18. Arnab,

    I am greatly surprised by the range of your interests in almost every aspect of current Indian life inspite of you being abroad for so many years, and the nasty humour you bring to every bit of your writing is top class. Big fan sir.

    PS: The pictures are actually funny as hell. (Maa kasam)

  19. “Rohit Sharma is extremely talented. After all, as the magazine cover above says โ€œWhy other Indian men in TUX look like waitersโ€, with the honorable exception being him.”


  20. Oh C’mon.

    Rohit Sharma is yet to make his test debut for god’s sake. Despite being around for 5 years. The guy averages 60 in first class cricket – significantly more than Kohli and Raina – who have been inducted into tests earlier.

    The white ball game is different. It is actually a different sport. Not cricket. Maybe he doesn’t quite enjoy it like a lot of other big names – Slater, Laxman, even Sehwag in his early days.

    Atleast give him a chance in tests and see how he fares before passing summary judgments.

  21. Also, the white ball game is fickle in that success in it depends a hell of a lot on where you bat in the batting order.

    Even a great like Sachin Tendulkar had a “Rohit-Sharma like career” in ODIs until he got promoted to the opening slot in 1994! But in Sachin’s case nobody cribbed in those days because the kid had shown his class in tests as early as 1990.

    Take Ian Bell in our own times. Very ordinary ODI record right up to 2011 when he was a middle order bat. Promoted to opening slot this year. And we see a very significant improvement in performance!

    You can’t really “bat normally” in ODIs once you get past overs 30. Which is why a lot of proper batsmen struggle in this format in the middle order. The men who succeed are often unconventional players like Raina and Yuvraj and Dhoni whose whole games are designed for limited overs cricket.

  22. My opinion on current crop of Indian batting talent.. While there have been so many chopping in bowling side batsmen seem to go scot free irrespective of performance
    1. Sachin – Drop. Come on we know he is not going to retire and he is not adding any great value either. Sorry if I offend any of his fans but if Rahul and Laxman can be accountable for 8-0 loss, he didnt fare any better.
    2. Gautam – Drop for few months. He definitely needs to go back to domestic cricket.
    3. Raina & Yuvraj – IMHO they have played their last tests for India. They have been fighting for the spot left by Ganguly till now and we don’t need further confirmation that they are too vulnerable for tests.
    5. Rohit – He is a great talent and next Sachin etc etc. Well its time to recognize this great talent is meant to be another Kambli, Hirwani etc. Atleast those guys had shines one season or two at international level.
    6. Sehwag – However great he may be his fitness level certainly disqualifies him in T20 and ODI. With numerous injuries he isnt getting any better either. He needs to concentrate on Tests and IPL.
    7. Jadeja – All rounder doesnt mean no rounder. He is the ideal replacement for Agarkar.
    8. Dhoni – He is not automatic selection in tests as a batsman-wicket keeper. If others are worse then I will go with him.
    9. Zaheer – He has already played his last T20 and ODI for India.

    Who will replace them? Can we survive the change? Well we are not doing any better if you discount how good the team looks on paper.. The likes of Rahane, Raidu, Pujara, Tiwary, Unmukt etc etc deserve some opportunity to fail atleast. If 2 of them turn out to be like Virat we have long term replacement for fab 4.

  23. @Hitarth, can’t say about reputation, but he was one of our best players in Sri Lanka. Manoj Tiwary is good but definitely not in the league of Kohli, Raina and Sharma, yet.

    @GB, I was only referring to the T20 World Cup matches not career strike rates in ODI’s and T20’s, in the context of your article. You forgot to mention these stats in your main article. I wish your article revolved around these stats. You seemed to allude in your article that it is because of the presence of undeserving players like Rohit Sharma, India lost the World Cup which s factually wrong.

    As an analogy, someone could comment after the sri Lanka England match that Ajantha Mendis is the worst bowler in Sri Lankan team as he gave 40 runs without a wicket. Everybody else gave away less than 8 runs an over !

  24. what greatbong wants is a fellow bong in the team, someone like the selfish and just above average ganguly, who he will then praise sky high and defend no matter how many times he fails. Proof is the lack of similar criticism aimed at ganguly when he wasnt scoring for more than 2 yrs and still wasnt willing to step down from captaincy (or even when the selectors, under the calcatta based dalmiya, picked him as a ‘all rounder’). Forget individuals, our parochial friend hadnt even criticised his fellow bangalis when they cheered for the south african team, in a one dayer against india in eden garden,s simply cos ganduly had been dropped.

  25. Btw, i used to love your posts of yore and still keep coming back in the hope of findging something upto your usual standards (which does happen occasionally) but your standards have slipped far too low of late, perhaps because of your preoccupation with peddling your books and running down authors like sameer bhagat who are more successfull than you (mind you, i am not saying he is a better writer, just that he is more successful).

  26. Is Rohit the next Ajit ?

  27. Rohit deserves more than 200 odi’s and 300 t20’s to show his class. Also he deserves to be the opening batsman and the opening bowler for the Indian test side. Come on guys, dont forget that he is from Mumbai. A mumbaikar always needs a longer rope than anyone else.

  28. Warning: Long Rant Ahead!

    Our selection committee has scaled new heights of stupidity…I cant imagine selecting Piyush Chawla, Bhajji, Balaji, Zaheer…and then we have Pathan, UV and some more people making a comeback…did we want to go with a comeback XI? T20 should be focussed more on fitness and youth and we took a step backwards…in fact not just a step..we ran a complete marathon backwards…

    Dhoni says we were unlucky as we won 4 out of 5 games….but look at how we played…Afganistan scared the sh*t out of all indian fans…and Australian demolition job was ruthless, methodical and gut wrenching…. in fact we had just two good games…
    my friends are still happy since we beat Pak….well we did beat Pak, but Pak had the last laugh as they beat Aus and closed the door on us…reminded me of that famous Baazigar dialogue…you know which one.

    Bitter truth but the cry baby Dhoni disappointed me more than anyone else…He just keeps coming up with one excuse or the other…in the one off T20 against NZ the pitch turned slow after Dhoni came to bat…against AUS it rained for 5 min…whats next? People honking outside the stadium?…

    Who (or what) do I blame? Selectors, Dhoni…or the usual suspect IPL?


  29. The point made by somebody about Great Bong never having lashed Ganguly is correct. Ganguly reached his captaincy limits in 2003 WC. We needed a new direction. Correctly or incorrectly Dravid was given the mantle. For 2 years Ganguly had been blatantly avoiding green pitches, under performing and been a carry-on. Kolkata shamelessly cheered SA and booed the Dravid led Indian side. Ganguly sucked up to Dalmiya and remained in power as long as he could. Tendulkar and Sharma are doing the same. TIA – This is India. India has always been about lobbies, get over it.

  30. I was just recalling the first two tests in Australia where Kohli was given an opportunity above Sharma. Kohli failed miserably in the first two tests and was written off by all the so called experts. Before the series I felt Sharma was truly ahead of Kohli as a contender for a test spot, he had outperformed everyone else in the team against Windies (Home and abroad). He failed in England, but then everyone in the team did too. He kept waiting but never got his opportunity.

    Kohli performed finally and full credit to him that he never looked back. My point being, Kohli could have been so easily in Rohit sharma’s shoes today and had he not performed for one more innings, probably GB would have been ranting about him today. Not here to defend Sharma, but I feel apart from the Srilanka series he has never really got the backing he deserved. This world cup also he has been among our top 3 performers as far as batting goes.

    Overall, quite disappointed with the quality of the post, although I do agree that Sharma or no Sharma we badly need to give more opportunities to the likes of Tiwari, Rayudu, Rahane etc.

  31. What is the mean of talent? A person who has the ability to dilived more no of performance at the maximum time when it is required. Not just because some one made the comment. Talent should be translated in to the performance. Now in rohit case I am so surprise how many times and how long he will carry this tag of talented. And when he proved that so call his talent. I don,t remember in his talent. I don,t remember some one in cricket world getting the chance to prove the talent. Even I am surprise the kind of media support he get,s many time.if we compare rohit past performance with sahwagh. He is no where. Even monoj tiwari and rahane has shown much better performance then this talented bouy. Is the other cricketer those are playing and knocking the door are not talented? Forget the compare of rohit with sachin. He score hundred in each game before getting to play for india( ranji,duleep and irani trophy) at the age of 15. So stop comparing this waste cricketer with great tendulkar. The pr of rohit sharma and the politics of indian cricket which is helping this wast to be in to indian team nothing ealse. Not the mumbai influence. Because wasim jaffer who scored two double hundred and five test centuries in 18 test could have been playing for india. One bad series in australia. Hurt his international carrier.

  32. So Shrikant is suggesting that we should promote Rohit to the opening slot now, since he’s failed in the middle-order. Shrikant moves into the role of registrar of RohitSharma fan club for this.

  33. Sumit, I will speak of this World Cup. One of the reasons why Rohit has better than average statistics in runs scored is that it seemed he was concentrating on that above the score the team needed. Why should I risk my wicket when there are others?
    Statistics can be misleading sometimes, because they cannot capture the contexts.

  34. 1: If Law of Averages work on Rohit Sharma, would it not mean he is in fact an average player :P. Bad players do not even stand up to law of averages.

    2: Priyanka Gandhi has much more flair for Politics than Rahul will ever have.

  35. @Madan Chopra … TIA … This is India ??? TII … This is Africa ???
    @Sumit and GB … GB … your article refers to the T20 world cup and uses statistics from ODIs without explicitly mentioning the same … hmmm … nothing wrong … but not fair either !!!

  36. Rohit is another name of Krishna.. hrhrrrhh hkhkkkhh…haribol.

  37. I am fully agree with what has been said about rohit sharma . I think the word talent has got another synonyms rohit sharma . The another name of talent is rohit sharma. But one thing is true about Rohit Sharma. he has such a great fan following Like BCCI, Sachin tendulaker, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjerkar. It does not matter for him when other people like him or not.He will always in indian team performance does not matter for him. It matters only for ordinary players.
    You can justify anything in this world. People who are trying to justifying him can be only rohit sharma fan they can not be fan of Indian cricket.
    he has become great barrier for young cricketer.

  38. haha rohit sharma fan club won’t be happy

  39. Let me pin-point it. Who cares about Rayudu, Rahane etc. You, my friend, are frustrated with Rohit Sharma, as you believe (wrongly) that he is blocking the way of a certain Manoj Tiwari who , if not for Rohit Sharma, would had become the next Don Bradman. Correct?

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