Indian cricket team’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar on Monday urged Rohit Sharma’s staunch critics to compare his intial Test career record with “any other cricketer” and be a bit “less harsh” on the stylish right-hander for some of his low scores.
“If you look at the numbers, he has played 13 (actually 14) Test matches and scored 800-900 (870 runs) runs at an average of 40 (actually 37.82) with two centuries, four half-centuries. I think if his critics can go back and compare the first 13 Test matches of any other cricketer who has played for a while, I think they would probably be less harsh on Rohit,” Bangar told ESPN Cricinfo in an interview.
“I believe that in the matches that he has played so far – obviously everybody wants to contribute more – he has definitely contributed to the team’s cause,” Bangar added.
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The former India all-rounder said that it was Chesteshwar Pujara’s poor form that led to Rohit’s promotion in the batting order.
“I think we are clear in our mind that we need to give enough time and opportunity for a player if we put him at a particular position before making the change. (Cheteshwar) Pujara was having a tough time, so he (Rohit) was given a fair run at No. 3. He batted very well in Sydney. He got starts in both the innings (53 & 39) but could not convert it into a big one.”
“After those five opportunities, we felt that moving him down the order would benefit the team more. And it also made sure that he got some time because he also had put a lot of pressure on himself to perform.”
“Somebody who constantly wants to contribute to the team’s cause. And it worked out beautifully. In both the Test matches (P Sara and SSC), he played vital innings for the team,” the dogged Railways batsman of yesteryears said.
Bangar however praised Pujara’s “hunger and tremendous”.
“Pujara has tremendous hunger, tremendous temperament. Again somebody who had a dip in his career but who is right up there. Obviously, there are going to be players who are going to miss out because of injuries but every new player who has come in has scored runs.”
The assistant coach maintained that strike-rotation is an important aspect that every batsman needs to be aware of.
“Strike rotation is something we are all making our batsmen (aware) of. We are working on it.”
While making the right noise about the position of India’s batting coach being “massive privilege”, Bangar did not forget to mention that he would be happy to get a “long-term contract”.
“It’s a massive privilege to be able to discharge the duties of batting coach of the Indian team. Ideally, a longer stint is better for the individual concerned but again even if it’s just for a series, it’s a huge opportunity and accomplishment.”