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Tag: West Indies

Rohit Sharma: Hitman or No-Hit?

Rohit Gurunath Sharma has played another test match for India. This time, he made the playing XI ahead of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara.

While Rohit undoubtedly is a terrific ODI and T20 player, the length of rope he has been given in the test arena continues to boggle the mind. If Virat Kohli is to be believed, Rohit is someone who can change a test match in one session. That might be true if he can stick around for a session. His last contribution was 50 runs off 82 balls across two innings – an average of 25.00 at a strike rate of 60.9- and two dropped catches. Hardly a match-changing performance against a weak bowling attack, one would think. His test average is worse than both Murali Vijay (by 8 runs) and Cheteshwar Pujara (by 14 runs) and his strike rate is only marginally better.

Anyway, having struggled to work out cricketing reasons for his selection (and continuing selection in the ongoing test series if reports are to be believed), let’s forget the statistics. Here are five possible reasons for his selection:

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Three things to know about Roston Chase

It was a series that looked all but over soon after it had begun. India annihilated the West Indies in the first test in Antigua, and proceeded to amass a mammoth 304 run lead after the first innings of the second test.

Having scored a meagre 196 in the first innings, the West Indies were 256 runs behind with only six wickets standing at the end of Day 4 and many critics (including this blog) had written off the under-staffed Windies side.  One man made it his mission to fight back: Roston Chase. For a side potentially filled with marquee stars such as Gayle, Narine and Pollard (though none of them are playing in this series, but that’s a story for another day), Roston Chase making his debut in this test series had rather big shoes to fill.

And fill them he did – with 5 for 121 with the ball to close out the Indian batting lineup from a formidable 425-6, and more importantly,  a gritty 137* to save the match on Day 5. Nothing could find a way through Chase – neither India’s five bowlers nor Virat Kohli’s verbals. This was an innings for the ages filled with classical shots and excellent footwork. An innings that restored a measure of pride to Windies players and fans. An innings that made Sir Viv stand up and yell “ROSTANNNN!” when he got to his ton.

It’s also worth noting that though Ashwin did managed the five wicket-century feat in the first test of the series, it’s been almost 50 years since another West Indian made a century and took a 5-for in the same test. That was Sir Gary Sobers, a Bajan like Chase, and the greatest all-rounder the game has ever seen (with apologies to Jacques Kallis fans).

So who exactly is Roston Chase? Here are three things to know about the up-and-coming West Indian star:

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It’s just not (test) cricket

Hammer. Smash. Knock-out. Repeat.

That has been the pattern in the ongoing test series between India and the West Indies and it really has been a poor watch. I am no expert on West Indian cricket but it is clear that there is a clear gulf between the two sides. Forget the politics between WIPA and WICB, I don’t think the result would be different even if their best players (Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell etc.) did play test cricket.

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