While the attention was almost entirely on on Virat Kohli’s triple golden-duck IPL season, the man who took his place as India captain wasn’t having the best of times out in the middle. In fact, Rohit Sharma’s IPL 2022 performance was perhaps worse than Kohli’s disastrous campaign.
Kohli averaged 22.73 and hit 115.98 in 16 games, while Rohit scored 19.14 and 120.17 in 14 games without making a half-century. It was his lowest average in 15 IPL seasons and his second-worst strike rate, trailing only IPL 2009. In a T20 World Cup year, the form of India’s two best batters – albeit while playing for their respective franchises – has to be reason for concern, especially following the catastrophe in UAE 2021.
Rohit’s dot-ball percentage has improved to 52 percent this season, which is a significant improvement. It’s the highest score he’s ever had in a T20 match. It has continuously risen over time, but even in 2019, when the IPL was entirely staged in India, it was significantly healthier, at 40.3.
It’s shown up in some of his dismissals this season: a series of dot balls or a quiet phase would be followed by a slog, which resulted in some top-edged catches. Then, as the season progressed, gentler dismissals began to appear, such as the standard slow-motion chips to mid-on.
After an eight-game losing streak, the Mumbai Indians’ season was nearly over before the halfway point. Before and during the auction, MI had lost a significant portion of their core – the Pandya brothers, Trent Boult, and Quinton de Kock – to other teams. Kieran Pollard was a shell of his former self, Suryakumar Yadav was usually out due to injury, and Ishan Kishan didn’t live up to his billing as the league’s most expensive player. The bowling attack failed to gel as a unit, while the young batting lineup struggled in its debut season.
Rohit had a tendency to start with a bang after a sighter in the Powerplay; he’d then slow down, but an acceleration phase would emerge later in the IPL – but not as frequently as it does in international cricket. This time, it didn’t happen.
Rohit Sharma started strongly against Delhi Capitals at Brabourne Stadium, but only got a solitary boundary in his last ten balls. Khaleel Ahmed, a left-arm seamer, irritated him so much that he was discarded before attempting to take on Kuldeep Yadav and failing to clear deep midwicket.
At Wankhede Stadium, he had a similar performance against the Lucknow Super Giants. He lost so much momentum after getting to 30 off 18 that he only took nine of his final 12 balls. That elicited a slog, and he top-edged Krunal Pandya to third base.
This stalling in the middle overs also meant he took unexpectedly large chances against bowlers he normally avoided. He opted for a reverse-sweep off Rashid Khan after hitting only one four in his previous 11 deliveries against Gujarat Titans, and was caught leg-before.
He let the dots build up at the start of the game against Kolkata Knight Riders in Pune, and then suddenly had a swing at Umesh Yadav – who has been difficult to target in the Powerplay this season – and top-edged a catch for 3 off 11.
Halfway through the IPL, with MI on the verge of elimination, came one of Rohit’s signature half-pushes, in which he reflexively brought the bat down on a full delivery from left-armer Mukesh Choudhary, and made no evident effort to keep it down. He may have gotten away if the ball had bounced to midwicket or mid-on, but it carried to the latter fielder for a second-ball duck during his dreadful run.
In their penultimate encounter, MI ruined DC’s playoff ambitions, but it was undoubtedly Rohit Sharma’s lowest point in IPL 2022. He played a soft chip off Anrich Nortje again, offering catching practise to mid-on and departing for 2 off 13 after taking as many as nine deliveries to get off the mark.
When Prasidh Krishna bowled a wide one following many on the stumps in the second over against Rajasthan Royals, Rohit sliced it straight to the fielder. But, for the most part, it was a matter of a tethered or plateauing Rohit breaking free.
‘Mental aspect’ is a term used to describe a person’s mental state
Rohit admitted that he had gone through similar slumps in the past and that he had to deal with the mental part of his game to get out of it. After MI’s last encounter, Rohit had noted, “A lot of things that I intended to do didn’t happen.” “However, this has occurred to me before, so it’s not something I’m dealing with for the first time.”
“I understand that cricket does not finish here; there is still a lot of cricket to be played.” As a result, I need to focus on the mental side of things and consider how I can get back into shape and perform,” Rohit explained. “It’s simply a tiny modification, and whenever I have some free time, I’ll attempt to work on it.”
Rohit Sharma, like KL Rahul, bats a little differently for the Indian squad than he does for his IPL franchise. After being rested for the South Africa home T20Is, he now has time off before the England and Ireland tour.