Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has termed the upcoming England series as “make-or-break” for Rohit Sharma as a Test batsman. According to Manjrekar, India cannot have a batsman aged 34 in the Test team solely on the basis of his impressive record in home games.
The disparity in Rohit’s home and away record in Test matches has been a matter of concern for a while now. While the elegant Mumbai cricketer averages 79.52 from 18 home Tests, his average is merely 27 in 20 away games (excluding the WTC final, which was played at a neutral venue). All of Rohit’s seven Test tons have come in home conditions.
Writing in a column for Hindustan Times, Manjrekar reckoned that India should start looking beyond Rohit in Tests if he is unable to deliver in England.
“This is a make-or-break series for the Test batter in (Rohit) Sharma, because there is no point in having a batter with over 40 Tests under his belt, aged 34, to be in the Test team if he is going to get you big scores only in India,” Manjrekar wrote.
Rohit got starts in both innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) Final against New Zealand. However, he was dismissed in the 30s both times. Earlier, he played two Tests in Australia and posted a highest score of 52. In contrast, he smashed 161 during the second Test against England in Chennai.
Big series for Ravichandran Ashwin: Sanjay Manjrekar
In the same column, Manjrekar claimed that the England series would be crucial for veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as well. According to the cricketer-turned-commentator, Ashwin has a chance to prove how much he has improved as a bowler in overseas conditions.
“This is also a big series for Ashwin. He has only 18 wickets in seven matches in England, also, of late he has had injury issues whenever he has been abroad,” Manjrekar wrote.
“I wonder if it’s because he is forced to use his body more to get bite from pitches that aren’t as responsive as those back home. He hardly misses a Test at home. With the new English batters not so adept at playing spin, India will look on occasion towards Ashwin, now on his third trip to England, to be the match winner.”
Manjrekar was previously criticized after he claimed Ashwin was not an all-time great. The 34-year-old spinner has claimed 14 wickets against England away from home in six Tests at an average of 32.92. He also picked up four wickets in the WTC Final and was more effective than a couple of the seamers.