SA vs IND: Rohit Sharma witnesses his worst phase as an opener

With two matches in the ODI series still to go, fans and the team would be hoping a change in fortune for the explosive opener.

Kagiso Rabada dismisses Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Getty Images)

The current Indian ODI team boasts of some huge batting prowess given the good blend of youth and experience that illuminates the team’s consistency. But if there’s anyone who can think to match the standards set by the captain Virat Kohli in terms of his match-winning abilities, to take on the opposition single-handedly, it is undoubtedly the Hit-Man of Indian cricket, Rohit Sharma. Sharma has witnessed a great change in luck and form ever since he was asked to open for the team in Champions Trophy in 2013.

The decision to make the flamboyant batsman open made a massive difference in his career and that too when he averaged less than 40 in 2010 (38.76). He did muster few runs in next few years but was still uncertain of his place despite managing a rise in form in 2012. But it was in 2013 that Rohit realized his potential and helped himself to showcase performance on the back of his much talked about talent.

Dip in form in 2018

The swashbuckling Indian opener has been in sublime form before he landed in South Africa for the ongoing full-fledged tour. He even managed to score his third double ton in ODIs in December against Sri Lanka at Mohali but since then has failed to time the ball as per his standards in his second tour to the rainbow nation. His recent scores in the series read as 11, 10, 10, 47, 20, 15, 0 and 5 (including Tests).

In ODIs, Rohit has failed to get going, barely managing 40 runs in the four innings so far and with a meagre average of 10 doesn’t justify the abilities of this hard-hitting batsman who was predicted to muster healthy average in such conditions knowing the pace and bounce on such South African wickets.

Worst phase after 2013

It was back in 2013 when India finally handed him the opportunity to take most of the time and he has certainly pleased everyone with the exploits with the bat as he has always managed to score runs with an average above 50 in each subsequent calendar year. But it has been a daunting task for Sharma, who is going through his worst phase as an opener in this ODI series.

After 2013 Champions Trophy, Rohit has averaged below 30 on only four occasions, including the present series. He even struggled last time but still managed 18.50 runs per match with the bat in the three-match ODI series when India toured here in 2013.

With two matches in the ODI series still to go, fans and the team would be hoping a change in fortune for the explosive opener before the captain starts looking at other players in contention to fill in the void at the top of the order.

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