While India have cruised to a 2-0 lead in the ODI series against South Africa, Rohit Sharma’s batting continues to remain the one aspect in the side that has produced limited output this tour so far.
Rohit averages just 13.44 in the 10 ODI innings he has played in South Africa. In the two games this ODI series, the 30-year-old has been dismissed for scores of 20 and 15. His top score in the three-match Test series was just 47 , but it came on an ‘Indian’ pitch and his overall average in the series was just 15.37.
However, his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan believes there is no reason for concern. The 32-year-old opines that Rohit is just one big innings away from getting rid of his South Africa hoodoo considering his form over the last one year.
“He was batting well in the last match,” said Dhawan at the press conference on Tuesday ahead of the third ODI. “It was unfortunate that he got out. I don’t think there’s any concern. Sometimes it happens that players don’t score.
“But I don’t think there is a problem. He has been batting well since the Champions Trophy to now. I feel the way he’s timing the ball that’s what matters the most,” he added.
Speaking about the wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, Dhawan feels the duo will once again play a major role in Cape Town where the ongoing drought is likely to result in a dry pitch.
“Playing wrist spinners is tricky as they can find turn even on a flat track,” said Dhawan. “They can create doubt in minds of the batsmen. Reading them is difficult, especially Kuldeep, who is a chinamen bowler. Chahal too has a googly that many struggle to read.”
“They are losing wickets in the middle. So they are not managing to set a suitable target,” he said. “Obviously it is a mental thing. Your thinking is changed. If there’s confusion and doubt then it shows in your batting. I doesn’t matter who the batsman is. If they can’t handle the spinners, then they’ll be cautious against the spinners, so we’ll be at an advantage at such times.
The opening batsman feels that the balance of the side has helped them play confidently in such conditions. All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s presence allows the team flexibility which was not available in past tours.
“Our team is balanced,” said Dhawan. “There’s a good mix of experience and youth. Even the youngsters are playing with maturity. That’s a major strength for our team.
“We have a good all-rounder, so that has brought a balance in overseas condition. There’s a flexibility in the side. So we go according to the situation, we can bring the spinners later. So that’s an X-factor.
Dhawan, who scored an unbeaten 51 in the previous game, said he was confident of bettering his individual performances.
“My form was good even when I wasn’t playing,” Dhawan said. “I increased my fitness regime during that time. Utilised the time to work on my game and the challenges that would face me here. Thinking of what the opposition would try to figure out ways to get me out and try and combat them,” he added.