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Test Cricket : No Test place for ‘Ro-hit’ Sharma

It was Rohit’s superlative one-day form that earned him a Test call soon and he justified it with centuries in his first two Test innings.

Rohit Sharma has been left out of the squad for the first three Tests against England. The ‘horses for courses’ formula does not quite fit him even in a series being played in virtual Indian conditions in a very dry English summer. For some years now, Ro ‘Hit’ Sharma  has made himself hot property in white ball cricket in which he has excelled two double hundreds and plenty of sparkling performances in T20 internationals. His adapting to limited-overs cricket after being promoted to open in an ODI in 2013 changed his world.

It was Rohit’s superlative one-day form that earned him a Test call soon and he justified it with centuries in his first two Test innings. However, he has not been able to establish himself in the Test side even when he was assured a constant place. A patchy Test record over five years in which he has made just under 1,500 runs in 25 Tests after that great start indicated inconsistencies in mental makeup that he has been unable to conquer.

So up and down has been his form that he used to be mocked at as ‘Ro won’t hit today’ Sharma. He has made up for that by becoming a dazzling match winner on his day in white ball cricket. For a Test team brimming with class batsmen waiting to seal their places like KL Rahul and newbie wicket-keeper and big striker Rishabh Pant while having such seasoned talent like Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara at the top of the order, there is just no place for picking Rohit on sentiment or on the premise that a top class Test batsman is lurking in him. Team India are well-placed as the world’s top ranked Test side and they have to look forward to sustain their perch on top of the pyramid. Selection is not a matter of doing justice to a player or trying to prop one up regardless of how potentially talented he is. Selection is a matter of judgment, however subjective that may be. Let’s just say there is no place for the gifted ODI and T20 stroke player Rohit Sharma in a team playing the red ball.

Twitterati are split in a major way about it. Critics from his state and region would back Rohit to come good in Tests and he might, if given ample opportunities. But a chance these days has to be given on merit and on judgment. Sorry, Rohit, you are a marvellous entertainer when you smack the white ball to all parts of the ground. But you have to accept that you didn’t quite have it in you to make it to a 50-plus averaging Test match batsman anywhere in the order.

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