For Rohit, last chance saloon
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2013 has been kind to the richly talented but frustratingly inconsistent and unpredictable players. January has seen Luke Pomersbach take the Brisbane Heats to the Big Bash title in Australia. Next doors, another cricketer with a bad-boy image, Jesse Ryder, was piling on the runs for Wellington, staking a claim for another international recall. Once again there was the urge to see more of the erratic but entertaining cricketers.
Back home, MS Dhoni succumbed to these temptations. For a few years now, as has been the case with Pomersbach and Ryder, old hands have acknowledged Rohit Sharma's talent while moaning about the young batsman's failure to make the most of his gifts. They were guarded in their criticism and gave him a long rope, hoping that a 'Sharma special' was just around the corner. Even when it didn't turn out to be so, few were willing to write him off.
Still, with every failure, time was running out. The transition-triggered middle-order vacancies were being rapidly filled. But the sudden, surprising opening at the top gave Sharma that extra chance. On Wednesday's evidence, he has made a positive intent to grab it. Looking at the batting line-up dynamics, this could be Sharma's last chance to seal his spot in the XI. A wrong step here, and he may lose his way, again.
Patience for the batsmen with pleasing strokes may not dry up, but the same cannot be said of openings in the batting line-up. Unlike the pace department which is perpetually short-staffed, batsmen can easily get lost in the long queue of those waiting for their turn with their pads on. But if the risks are great, so are the rewards. A consistent run as the ODI opener, for instance, might bring along the bonus of being Test No.6.
Sandeep is the National Sports Editor based in New Delhi
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