No better example than Rohit: Atherton explains India opener’s genius

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Rohit Sharma in full flow is a visual treat. The India opener has tremendous timing, plays the pull shot better than most and always seems to have that little extra millisecond while playing shots. Perhaps it’s that very trait which has allowed Rohit to thrive in his short stint as India’s Test opener.

As an opener, Rohit has scored 556 runs from 10 Tests ever since his elevation to the top of the order last October, and the way he’s going about his business, there’s no reason why the batsman can’t replicate his limited-overs success in the longer format.

Michael Atherton, the former England opener, has backed Rohit to do well and his belief stems from the fact that Indian cricketers are more a product of learning while playing than being loaded with a set of coaching manuals.

“I watch Rohit and think well you can’t not be successful at Test level. He just looks such a good player that you’d think that success will come. The one thing I do enjoy watching and this is a general point about Indian batsmen is that they look very natural to me and not over-coached and forced or stilted,” Atherton said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop Show.

Atherton harked back to his interaction with the great Rahul Dravid, who was coach of the India A and Under-19 side for years before being assigned coach of the National Cricket Academy last year. It was during that session that Dravid explained to Atherton the difference between the Under-19 cricketers of India and England and the root cause behind it.

“I was chatting to Rahul Dravid a couple of years ago. I was asking him why he felt that India’s players looked more natural and less forced than England’s at that level. He thought it was do with the fact that India’s cricketers all year around play, and because of the weather in England, a lot of English players spend six months indoors on bowling machines and it can look a bit forced after that… a bit overcoached,” Atherton said.

“He felt a lot of India’s young batsmen were learning in play rather than being coached personally. So I always enjoy watching that about watching Indian batsmen, they look very natural and fluid and fluent and of course, no better example than Rohit Sharma.”