Former India batsman VVS Laxman wants Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane to show more commitment with the bat when they take on England in the second Test in Chennai from February 13.
Both Rohit and Rahane failed to impress as India suffered a crushing 227-run defeat in the series-opener in Chennai after being bundled out for a paltry 192 in their pursuit of a 420-run target in the second innings.
While Rohit returned with scores of 6 and 12 in the first and the second innings respectively, Rahane managed to score only 1 run in both innings. Their failure to step up in the crucial run-chase saw India falter in the run chase as England romped off to their biggest win on Indian soil.
While reviewing India’s batting performance during a discussion on Star Sports, VVS Laxman looked forward to a better performance from the two Mumbaikars in the second Test to be played at the same venue.
“I want to see commitment from Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in the next match, that they should win or save the match,” said Laxman.
He further said that Ajinkya Rahane didn’t seem prepared to face James Anderson, who castled the Indian vice-captain with a masterful reverse-swinging delivery sending Rahane’s off-stump cartwheeling.
“The way Ajinkya Rahane got out in the second innings, I didn’t feel he was ready for the fight. It was known that Anderson will be reversing the ball; you can get out to a good ball, but if your footwork is not correct, and you don’t come into the right position, that too at the start of the innings, it makes you feel sad. So the way Ajinkya Rahane got out, he will be disappointed,” he added.
VVS Laxman: Rohit Sharma Must Play More Carefully Outside Off Stump
VVS Laxman also observed that opener Rohit Sharma should have exercised greater caution against deliveries outside the off-stump at the start of his innings.
“Rohit Sharma will be disappointed the way he got in the first innings. As a batsman you know where the bowlers are going to attack you, what is not your strength. We know Rohit Sharma has to play a little more carefully outside off-stump at the start of his innings,” said the 46-year-old.
The cricketer-turned-commentator mentioned the restraint Rohit Sharma showed in the Tests against South Africa during the 2019 home season.
“He was ready to leave deliveries when he opened against South Africa for the first time. He got an outside edge in the first innings of this Test match. So he should be ready for the balls to be bowled at that length, especially Archer with the new ball, because he gets extra bounce,” pointed out Laxman.
A lot will be riding on both Rohit and Rahane in the second Test if India are to bounce back strongly after facing a crushing defeat in the series-opener. The second Test will get underway from January 13 (Saturday) in Chennai.