Needing 160 against the Delhi Capitals on Saturday night to salvage some pride in their last game of this edition, Mumbai Indians needed their captain, missing with the bat through the campaign, to come to the party, for once. However, all one saw was an out-of-form class batsman struggling to put bat to ball in his 13-ball two. The 35-year-old’s misery ended when he chipped Anrich Nortje to Shardul Thakur at mid-on.
Never before has the Mumbaikar — easily amongst the top three white-ball batsmen in world cricket — looked so ungainly, out-of-sorts and searching for answers.
This is the first time that he finished an IPL without a single fifty – in 14 games, all he managed was just 268 runs at an average of 19.14 and a below par strike rate of 120.17, with a top score of 48. With their talismanic captain being lacklustre, MI paid the price heavily, losing the first eight games and ending up at the bottom of the IPL table for the first time, even though they won four of their last six games.
For someone who’s just been made India’s captain in all the three formats, Rohit’s form in a year in which India play the T20 World Cup is a cause for worry. Has constant cricket got to him? Does he need a break to recharge his batteries?
Reflecting on his forgettable season after MI’s last league game, Rohit said, “A lot of things that I wanted to do didn’t happen. I am very disappointed with my season. But this has happened with me earlier as well, so it’s not something I am going through for the first time.”
The stylish bat believes a “minor adjustment” will see him back on song. “I need to take care of the mental aspect and think about how I can return to form and perform. It’s only a minor adjustment and I will try to work on that whenever there is some time off,” he said.
It’s no secret that Rohit, normally one of the most destructive batsmen in T20 cricket, hasn’t had a good time in the IPL for the past few years now.
“His feet aren’t moving as much as they need to while batting. With everyone talking about his form, he’s feeling the pressure, I think. I’m sure he will bounce back into form soon,” Rohit’s childhood coach Dinesh Lad told TOI.