If you want to sweep, you sweep: Rohit talks about the subtleties of his excellent 161

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13 Feb 2021 | 03:47 PM
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If you want to sweep, you sweep: Rohit talks about the subtleties of his excellent 161

Talking about various aspects of the day's play, Rohit Sharma spoke about his technique behind the sweep stroke and his partnership with Ajinkya Rahane

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India opener Rohit Sharma is clear in his mind that even an iota of doubt while playing the sweep shot on a rank turner could lead to inevitable trouble.

With one of the best exhibitions of employing the sweep stroke at the Chepauk since Sachin Tendulkar's valiant 136 against Pakistan in 1999, Rohit has put his team in a commanding position on a track that is deteriorating pretty fast. England know a tough task await them in the second Test, which started here on Saturday.

"Before it's too late, you start doing what you want to do and you can't be tentative. If you want to sweep, you sweep it," Rohit's statement had a touch of Mexican bandit Tuco Ramirez's famous punch line -- "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk" from the Hollywood classic 'The Good The Bad The Ugly'.

Having watched Joe Root slay the Indian spinners in the first Test, it was like a ready reckoner for Rohit, who had prepared well during the last two training sessions.

"We knew how the pitch was prepared and we knew that it would turn. So we had a good few training sessions before today and trained according to what we were supposed to expect today," he said.

"When you play on turning pitches where you have to be pro-active and you can't be reactive. Getting on top of the bowler and making sure you are ahead of him. Little adjustment based on that.

"If it's turning, then how much of it... things like that before making decisions on shot selection," the white ball vice-captain said.

Moeen Ali had troubled the Indian batsmen in the past and for Rohit, it was imperative that England's senior off-spinner needed to be swept from the rough to negate any chance of a leg before decision.

"What helped me was preparation I had before the game. Understanding the line that Moeen Ali was bowling. He was bowling into the rough, so there is a slight chance of getting leg before decision," he explained.

"Also I saw the deep square leg was pushed back, so even if I top-edged it wouldn't carry and land in safe place. Those were my ideas and thoughts."

According to Rohit, sweep is a percentage shot, which takes the condition of the pitch out of the equation.

"Sweep shot is something that you know can frustrate a bowler if you are playing that very well. If you play that shot, there is not much that the bowler can do from there or pitch can do from there.

"It was a percentage shot to play as he was bowling outside off-stump and lbw doesnt come to play. Only an odd ball he was bowling on the wicket where I wanted to use my feet and cover the spin while reaching towards the ball."

In the case of left-arm spinner Jack Leach, it was about presenting a straight bat. "Leach was bowling stump-to-stump, so it was important that I play with the turn. It was important to play with a straight bat as the turn was slightly angled. I was making sure that I push the ball between cover and point and rotate the strike.

"Once you rotate strike, its not easy for a bowler to bowl to a different batter every time. I wanted to bat as long as possible since the pitch is going to show a lot of wear and tear from days two and three."

The 'Hit-Man' didn't want to rate any of his hundreds. "I am not going to rate any of my knocks because every knock comes under different kind of pressure and this came under different circumstances.

"I am not the person to rate any of my knocks. Little disappointed to get out like that but happy that team is in a good position," he said.

Rohit also praised Ajinkya Rahane, with whom he forged a 162-run stand for the fourth wicket. The duo got together when India lost their skipper, Virat Kohli with the scoreboard reading 85 for three. 

"Ajinkya, he is one of our top players. He has done extremely well and played some crucial knocks (over the years). He has time and again shown that when the team needs a batsman to stand up, he has done that many times," Rohit was all praise for his fellow Mumbaikar, who scored 67 on the day.

Rohit was slightly annoyed that there were even talks about Rahane's form since he didn't get runs in seven successive innings.

"I don't understand why these talks take place? But, anyway, his knock was very important for the team at that point and our partnership was also necessary for the team and we took the team to a comfortable position till tea, because I believe 350 will be a good score on this wicket," added Rohit.

Rohit revealed that he also suggested Rahane to play sweep shots."When we were playing spinners, I was sweeping them from the rough, so I told him. Because the two-three balls that he played went into the air, then I told him sweep will be a better option, so he might as well play that", explained the right-handed batsman. 

Rohit expects Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel to bat as long as possible.

"We still have four wickets left and we hope that the batsmen who are currently batting (Rishabh) Pant and Axar (Patel), make as many runs because already the rough patches have been created."

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Rohit Gurunath SharmaAjinkya Madhukar RahaneMatthew Jack LeachEnglandIndiaEngland tour of India, 2021

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