Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma © bcci.tv

India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar believes that Rohit Sharma’s flair at No. 3 will be valuable for the team, if India are to score more than 300 runs on every batting day. Despite the batsman’s scores of 8 and 7 in the tour game in Colombo, Bangar feels that it is just a matter of time before he starts getting good scores.

After a dream start to his Test career with two centuries against West Indies in 2013, Rohit’s performances have been disappointing – he has averaged just 23.75 across the 17 innings since. He began batting at no. 3 against Australia, and scored 53, 39 and 6.

Addressing the post-match press conference, Bangar said, “I think what he definitely brings at No. 3 is the flair factor. With the kind of cricket that this team is looking to play, wherein we are wanting to at least go past 300 on each batting day, that’s where somebody of his (Rohit) calibre can chip in and contribute in that manner.”

He added that Rohit was playing a lot of balls in the nets and is batting well.

“Rohit is an experienced campaigner. He has been on the international scene for a long period and he is hitting a lot of balls in the nets. So whatever absence of time that he has not been able to spend out in the middle (a month-long break), we are spending time in the nets and he is hitting a lot of balls. He is batting really well. It’s just a matter of time that he gets a decent start and looks to convert that into a big one,” said Bangar.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha also could not manage to get into double figures in either innings of the tour match – and had scores of 3 and 1 in the match.

“Saha is just at the start of his career. We need to be patient with him, give him time to settle. He is filling the boots, the huge void left by somebody like a Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is a proven performer. He does bat really well, he is quite capable and versatile, and is a good player against spin bowling. I think with time he will get more comfortable in this position and we are making all the efforts to ensure he clicks in that particular slot.”

“He has put in some fabulous performances for his state – been one of the mainstays for Bengal as also for East Zone,” Bangar said. “The beauty about him is that whenever the chips are down, he comes out and delivers. We need only go back to Sydney or the Adelaide Test where he did really play well.”

“It’s just that he couldn’t convert those starts of 30 or 35 into match-winning innings. I think we need to give some time for him to mature and get accustomed to the kind of pressure that somebody like a wicketkeeper-batsman faces in a Test format.”

The former India all-rounder was happy that both the batsmen and bowlers got an outing after the long break.

“I think all the batsmen got two decent innings and this is what you basically want after a long lay-off,” said Bangar.

Further, he also feels that the lower batting order can make some valuable contributions.

“I think there is a lot of value in the lower-order. If you look at our lower-order, Ravi Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh have both got two Test hundreds. We all know what Bhuvneshwar Kumar is capable of because of the kind of innings and contributions that he made in England, which is considered to be the most testing of conditions.”

“There is a lot of value to be unearthed and definitely it was a clear indication that we are looking for contributions from the lower order as well and we do have a lot of faith in them and we are hoping they will deliver in crunch situations for the team,” he said.

Before the start of the first Test, India would hope that Murali Vijay is fit for the match. Vijay was dropped for the tour match due to a hamstring injury he picked in Zimbabwe this July.

“The physio is putting in a lot of work on Vijay and we will have to wait and just assess how he turns up before the day of the match,” Bangar said. “From a team perspective, having a fit Vijay is going to be a big asset. He does give a lot of solidity and plays the anchor role which is required in this format. We are all hoping that he turns up 100% fit.”

Edited By : Akanksha Agarwal

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