Why the Rohit Sharma issue should raise a few eyebrows?

Rohit Sharma is not the part of India's squad for Australia tour.

Rohit Sharma is not the part of India's squad for Australia tour.

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The events after India’s squad for the Australian tour was confirmed have kept every Indian cricket fan at the edge of their seats. Rohit Sharma was left out of the squad stating that he was ‘not fit’, and Mumbai Indians released a video of the ‘Hitman’ batting in the nets soon after.

As if to tease the fans a little more, Rohit himself returned to action for his IPL side and compounded the mystery further by stating that he was ‘absolutely fine’ as well.Now, what is going on? Why would a player, who says he is absolutely fine be left out of a tour that is more than 18 days away?

Shouldn’t this surely raise a few eyebrows?

Is everything fine behind the closed doors of the Indian side?

Is something brewing backstage?

Indian coach Ravi Shastri played it safe, when asked about Rohit Sharma’s absence. This is what he had to say.

So, Shastri has shirked accountability on his part. And, skipper Virat Kohli has not even said a single word about Rohit’s omission so far. In fact, there were murmurs about a rift between Kohli and Rohit Sharma even during the 2019 World Cup as well. According to a report, the Indian side was split into the Kohli faction and the Rohit faction.

Also, Rohit’s batting had reached a crescendo during the multi nation tournament. During the 2019 World Cup, the Indian opener became the first batsman in the history of World Cup cricket to score five centuries in a single edition. He also aggregated 648 runs in the tournament, the most in a single World Cup edition by an Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 673 runs(2003 World Cup).

Kohli on his part, scored 443 runs during the tournament, but was surely overshadowed by the wizardry that Rohit exhibited with the willow on cricket’s grandest stage. Also, Rohit had stated a couple of years back that he was indeed ready for the national captaincy. This is what Rohit had said when asked about captaining the Indian side.

So, Rohit Sharma had minced no words and had explicitly stated that he was ready to captain the Indian side. And, he has the credentials to throw his hat in the ring for the role of skipper as well. He is one of the most successful leaders in the Indian Premier League, having led his side to four IPL titles, the most by a captain in the tournament’s history.

He also has the best win percentage amongst captains who have led an IPL side for at least 50 matches. On the other hand, Kohli has been unable to inspire the RCB side to even a single title in the T20 extravaganza. Also, out of the 8 seasons that he has been the skipper, the Bangalore side has qualified for the playoffs just on 3 occasions.

So, is Kohli insecure that there will come a day when he would probably be forced to play under Rohit Sharma? In fact, a BCCI official had also said that they were mulling split captaincy in the Indian side. This is what the official had to say:

Also, Kohli and Rohit are two of the all-time greats when it comes to the limited overs format as well. While Kohli is the leading run scorer in T20Is, he is closely followed by Rohit Sharma who occupies the second place. Also, while the Indian skipper is the second highest century maker in ODI cricket with 43 tons, his deputy occupies the fourth place with 29 tons.

Rohit is the only batsman in history to score a record three double hundreds in ODI cricket and is also the only man to have scored over 250 runs in a single ODI innings. The ‘Hitman’ had also announced his arrival in the Test arena last year when he smashed two hundreds in his first Test as opener against South Africa. He followed that up with a double hundred in the third Test against the same opponent, signalling that he is here to stay in the Test format.

In 2019, Rohit plundered 556 runs and averaged 92.67 in the 6 innings that he played in the whites. The 33-year-old also scored 1490 runs in ODI cricket in 2019, the most in his career in a calendar year in ODI’s. He had also started 2020 with a bang, scoring 119 in the third ODI against Australia in January this year.

Not good for the Indian side in the long run

So, all is not right within the Indian camp.

But then, one thing is clear. Both Kohli and Rohit are indispensable to the fortunes of the Indian side going into the future. And, an issue like this not only highlights disharmony, it is definitely not good for the Indian team in the long run. Will we see the Hitman fly to the land of the kangaroos this November?

Let us wait and watch!