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Jones: Rohit’s defensive skills letting him down in Tests

Batsman took just 78 runs in four innings against South Africa

Gulf News

New Delhi: Former Australia batsman Dean Jones feels Rohit Sharma’s rare talent is undisputed but his defensive skills are letting him down in Test cricket.

Barring captain Virat Kohli, none of the specialist Indian batsmen could negotiate the potent South Africa pace attack in the two Tests that the visitors lost to concede the series.

Sharma, who was picked ahead of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on “current form”, too failed to justify his selection mustering 78 runs in four innings at 19.50.

“I look at him and he is technically sound. But the first thing that goes wrong in your game is your defence, and his (Sharma’s) defensive skills are letting him down,” Jones said.

“In Test cricket, 70 per cent of batting is about your defence and in one-dayers it is 40 per cent. So his defensive skills are letting him down. He has got to take pride in his defensive skills like Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and even Virat Kohli,” he said further.

Sharma went into the South Africa series at the back of scintillating form against Sri Lanka at home, where he smashed a third double hundred in ODIs and a joint-fastest century in T20 Internationals. Considering the form he was in, the team management preferred him over Rahane.

Jones said India needed a tough tour like South Africa to sort out their team selection.

“You need to have these kind of tours to sort out your composition, to find out whether they are good enough or not. So may be there has been too much reliance on his (Sharma’s) ODI form but all in all you have to have a series like this to find out if they are good enough.

“If he misses out in the next series, Ravi (Shastri) and Kohli can say ‘we gave you the opportunity’,” said the 56- year-old.