Even though Team India have taken a 2-0 lead in the ongoing six-match ODI series against South Africa, opening batsman Rohit Sharma is yet to make an impression in the series and on his tour to the rainbow nation.
Rohit was preferred over Ajinkya Rahane in the first two Tests that the tourists lost to concede an unassailable 2-0 lead to the Proteas. Sharma didn’t prove his mettle against the fiery South African pace attack in the Test series as he managed to aggregate only 78 runs in 4 innings at a miserable average of 19.50.
The story remained pretty much the same in the first two ODIs as Rohit perished for 20 and 15 in Durban and Centurion respectively.
Nonetheless, Rohit’s fellow opening partner Shikhar Dhawan feels that it is not a major cause of concern for the Men in Blue. As per Dhawan, Rohit is timing the ball well and it is just a matter of time before he gets back to his very best.
"I feel Rohit is playing well, looking at the way he is timing the ball. Even in the last match he was playing really good. Unfortunately he got out but, I don't feel concerned about his batting at all. He has performed so well right from the Champions Trophy, till now. Sometimes it does happen that you don't score runs. But what matters the most is how he is timing the ball. There is no problem at all with his form. I think he just needs one good innings, to solve all problems," Dhawan said while addressing the media on the eve of the third ODI in Cape Town.
India have registered thumping victories in the first two ODIs thanks to their two wrist spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. While Kuldeep’s 3 for 34 has laid the foundation for India’s 6-wicket win in Durban, Chahal’s maiden five-wicket haul (5 for 22) resulted in a resounding 9-wicket triumph for the visitors in Centurion.
Talking about the wrist spinners, Shikhar said: "It is difficult to play wrist-spinners because they have the ability to turn the ball on flat tracks as well. And when the ball starts to turn, foreign player find it really difficult, because they are not used to playing such kind of turn. That can create a doubt in batsman's mind. That is why they are really effective.
"Out of the two spinners Kuldeep and Chahal, the former is more difficult to read as he is a chinaman bowler. As far as Chahal is concerned, not many players read his googly," he further added.
Stressing on India’s domination in ODI cricket, Dhawan cited team balance as the biggest factor.
"We are a really balanced side. The good part is we have youth, as well as experience in the side. The youngsters are also showing a lot of maturity. So that is our biggest strength. And in our ranks we have an all-rounder as well, which really helps us. That gives a lot of flexibility to the squad. So we can time the introduction of our spinners according to the situation of the match," the southpaw concluded.