A day after India lost the second Test against South Africa at Centurion, former Australian cricketer Dean Jones said that Rohit Sharma, who had a terrible tour so far, needs to work on his defensive skills. Speaking to news agency PTI, the cricketer-turned-commentator said, “I look at him and he is technically sound. But the first thing that goes wrong in your game is your defense, and his (Sharma’s) defensive skills are letting him down.”
Sharma, who had a tremendous limited-overs series against Sri Lanka in December, was picked over vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the first two Tests. Jones said that Sharma, who made just 78 runs in four innings at an average of 19.50 in the tour so far, was let down by his ability to defend.
“In Test cricket, 70 percent of batting is about your defence and in one-dayers it is 40 percent. So his defensive skills are letting him down. He has got to take pride in his defensive skills like Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and even Virat Kohli,” he said.
Jones further added that a tough series such as the one against South Africa will help India in figuring out their squad combinations. “You need to have these kind of tours to sort out your composition, to find out whether they are good enough or not. So may be there has been too much reliance on his (Sharma’s) ODI form but all in all you have to have a series like this to find out if they are good enough. If he misses out in the next series, Ravi (Shastri) and Kohli can say ‘we gave you the opportunity’,” the 56-year old said.
With an unassailable lead of 2-0, South Africa has won the series against the No.1 Test side. But Jones believes that the side has just had one bad tour and can take things around in the upcoming tour to England.
“Kohli can only make so many runs, you need other players to stand up. England tour is going to be interesting. There are some question marks about the guys’ techniques. They can play well. Like Tendulkar and Dravid, you got guys like Rahane and Pujara who stay side on and watch the ball late. And you got bowlers now who can bowl over 140 kmph and swing the ball. So I would like to judge this Indian team by how they do over the next two-three years. They have had just one bad tour,” he said.