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Rohit Sharma loses middle stump to net bowler, gets dismissed again off next ball before India vs England 3rd Test

Rohit Sharma was dismissed off consecutive balls by a net bowler during India’s practice session ahead of the IND vs ENG 3rd Test in Rajkot.

Take Rohit Sharma out of the equation and India’s pure batters have only 29 Tests – out of which 22 belongs to Shubman Gill alone – between them going into the third Test against England at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. That is 11 less than Ollie Pope, one of England’s least experienced players in their batting unit.

India’s captain Rohit Sharma is clean bowled by England’s James Anderson during the third day of the second Test(AFP)

Yashasvi Jaiswal in his 7th Test is India’s best bet. He is India’s highest run-scorer in this series with a double century and an 80-plus score to his name. Gill is India’s second-most experienced batter, Rajat Patidar has only one Test to show, and Sarfaraz Khan is set for his debut.

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If multiple reports are to be believed then wicketkeeper KS Bharat is likely to be replaced by Dhruv Jurel. That’s another debutant. You can sense why former England cricketers believe there is a real chance of toppling India despite their commanding performance in the previous Test. One would have to think really hard and jostle the internet archives to find an inexperienced Indian batting line-up as this in a home Test.

At this juncture, Rohit’s wicket becomes vital. It always is but now it carries such weight that it can influence significant and opposite moral shifts in the Indian and English camps.

Rohit Sharma practice session ahead of India vs England 3rd Test

Rohit is well aware of that. In the lead-up to the third Test, he was the leader, the coach, the batter, the strategist, the motivator – all rolled into one. Rohit has a tough job in hand. He not only has to captain an experienced side as this but also has to do the heavy lifting with the bat, or at least is expected to do so.

He hasn’t had a great series so far. With scores of 24, 39, 14 and 13, he is due for a big one. During India’s training session on Tuesday, Rohit spent the first half coaching the youngsters. He spent a considerable amount of time discussing batting with Kuldeep Yadav and observing how youngsters Sarfara Khan, Rajat Patidar and Dhruv Jurel went about their business.

When it was finally his turn to bat in the nets, it didn’t start on an ideal note. A net bowler uprooted his stump with a sharp in-swinger. The Indian captain was taken aback. Perhaps a lot going on in his head? Or maybe just a one-off. The young bowler definitely thought it was the latter as he just strolled, picked up the ball and walked back to his mark, reported The Indian Express.

The next ball shaped away and Rohit nicked it. Consecutive dismissals against a net bowler. Rohit was challenged on both edges and he lost both of them.

Reading too much into a nets session is never a good idea but completely ignoring it is also not advisable. Rohit has just not been himself in this series. His different dismissals against different bowlers are the biggest giveaway. The man who showed the way with his selfless attacking display in the powerplay during the ODI World Cup is suddenly unsure about how to approach his innings in red-ball cricket.

He tried to be positive in the first Test in Hyderabad but was holed out in the deep in the first innings and then he missed a straight delivery from debutant Tom Hartley in the second to get LBW.

In Visakhapatnam, he went for course correction. On a placid Day 1 wicket, he batted 41 balls with no boundaries and eventually glided a Shoaib Bashir nonchalant delivery to leg slip for 14. In the second innings, he was done by a James Anderson masterclass that knocked his stumps over.

Which Rohit will appear in Rajkot? Whatever approach he chooses, it is imperative for India and for Rohit himself that it yields results.


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