Thursday, January 26, 2023

“Only great players like Rohit Sharma can adapt themselves in such a manner” – Zaheer Khan praises Indian opener

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan has admitted that Rohit Sharma’s transformation from a strokemaker to a resilient Test player in the ongoing series in England would not have been easy. Zaheer, however, pointed out that greats like Rohit are capable of making the desired mental and technical adjustments.

Rohit Sharma notched up his much-awaited maiden Test hundred away from home on Saturday, his eighth overall in the longer format of the game.

Hailing the Indian opener, Zaheer told Cricbuzz that his knock of 127 on Day 3 at The Oval showed that he was hungry to prove himself. The former pacer said:

“It is difficult for players like Rohit Sharma, who are proven strokemakers, to rein in their game. It needs a lot of mental adjustment and practice. It is about controlling the mind and body. It is not easy, which is why everyone cannot do it and only great players like Rohit Sharma can adapt themselves in such a manner.”

Zaheer credited Rohit Sharma’s hard work for his success as a Test opener and added:

“Rohit Sharma was not a Test opener but ever since he has taken over the role, he has adjusted his game according to the demands of the role. His success on Saturday was the result of this hard work. Earlier as well, he was seeing off the new ball and doing the job for the team. But, he was getting out while trying to change gears.”

Zaheer opined that Rohit Sharma should be a lot more confident after registering his first Test hundred away from home. He claimed:

“Now that he has got the hundred, we will see a different Rohit Sharma in the upcoming matches. When something that you have been waiting for a long time happens, it gives you the desired momentum and rhythm.”

Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 127 off 256 balls on Day 3 of the Oval Test. He featured in a significant 153-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara (61) as India ended the day on 270 for 3.

“Knew it was the last chance for me” – Rohit Sharma on turning Test opener

Rohit Sharma began his Test career in the middle-order but could not establish himself despite starting with two big hundreds.

At a press conference following the third day’s play, the 34-year-old admitted that he knew what he was getting into when he accepted the challenge to open. Rohit Sharma said:

“In the back of my mind I knew it was the last chance for me as well, trying another position in the batting order. When the offer came to open the batting, I was very much aware of it because the talks were happening within the management about me opening at some stage. So… mentally, I was ready to take on that challenge, to see if I could do well up the order… Yeah, you can say that it was my last opportunity, if I hadn’t succeeded, anything could have happened.”

Meanwhile, India will resume Day 4 at The Oval with a lead of 171. Virat Kohli (22 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (9 not out) were at the crease during stumps on Saturday.

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