Hit-Man Zone: Rohit gets ready for Shaheen duel with extended session

Melbourne: Those who know Rohit Sharma well would vouch for the fact that the Indian captain doesn’t get amused when he hears the term “lazy elegance” liberally thrown at him during formal and informal conversations.
Rohit Sharma is supremely elegant but the word “lazy” hasn’t existed in his dictionary for the longest possible time now.
Out of his 41 international hundreds, 33 has come in ODIs and T20Is and it wouldn’t have been possible had there been an iota of laziness in him.
Forty eight hours before the marquee clash against Pakistan, it seemed Rohit, the skipper at least on the day, made way for Rohit, the batter, who is thinking of how to counter the menacing pace and swing of Shaheen Shah Afridi.
May be that’s the reason, he was trying to focus on not hitting any horizontal bat shots, which is a recipe for disaster against someone like Shaheen, who will not only bowl fast but also swing it late at a brisk pace.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground nets is slightly different from other stadiums where one can only get a top angle view of the nets and it always seems like players are training at a giant well.
It was an optional net session for the Indian team on Friday and it was the skipper, who became the centre of attention for 30-odd spectators as he entered the arena.
Rohit went through the grind for close to one and half hours along with Dinesh Karthik for company.
While Karthik, India’s designated white-ball finisher, after a normal net session, did a bit of simulation training with some high-risk lap scoop and reverse lap scoop shots and pull-shots, Rohit’s session was way more interesting.
It seemed he was intent on playing within the V’ and while Karthik enjoyed hitting some disdainful pulls, his captain, who is a pioneer of horizontal bat shots, refrained from hitting any.
He defended, left deliveries, played front foot and back-foot push drives with elan.
The way he kept the shape while lunging forward for the cover drives was sheer beauty.
And in between, he used his peripheral vision to keep an eye on what Karthik and reserve batter Deepak Hooda were up to on the adjacent nets.
Watching Rohit bat, one would instantly remember the popular YouTube interview show Breakfast With Champions’ where the host asks Kohli, Doesn’t Rohit give you feeling that he has that extra second to play those shots?”
Ek nahi, der second (Not one but one and half second), was Kohli’s quickest response which showed the erstwhile skipper’s reverence for his deputy.
Even when he left a few deliveries alone in between his shots, it never looked boring.
Batting isn’t exactly Rohit Sharma’s vocation. It is his passion. T20 might be a slam-bang version but the ingredient needed to be successful is the discipline of a marathon runner.
Once his session was over, he continued watching Karthik and later Axar Patel bat at the nets while having a conversation with head coach Rahul Dravid.
But if one thought that the skipper was done for the morning, they were mistaken.
Having taken a break for some time, Rohit was back in the nets and this time facing the sharp left-arm throwdown of Sri Lankan specialist Nuwan was seen muscling the throwdowns at a high speed and angled it in from the 18 yards and Rohit was equal to the task each time.
Not for once did he look wary or hurried into his shot. There was the trigger but not an early commitment into the stroke.
In cricket, as in life, there are no guarantees, and hence how well things will pan out against Pakistan can’t be predicted.
But one thing can be said with a degree of certainty that Rohit Sharma is not leaving any stone unturned to turn the heat on Shaheen Shah Afridi.

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