WTC Final: Rohit Sharma will struggle if the ball moves in Southampton, says Scott Syris

Written by Vipin Darwade

Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris has said Rohit Sharma might struggle in the World Test Championship final in Southampton if conditions favour swing bowling. Styris said he has observed quite a few times that Rohit doesn’t move his feet well early in his innings and that might prove to be his undoing in the historic title clash, starting June 18 at the Ageas Bowl.

World No. 1 Test side New Zealand take on WTC table-toppers India in what promises to be a cracker of a contest. New Zealand are heading into the one-off title match on the back of a convincing Test series win against England in England. On the other hand, India don’t have competition action under the belt in the lead up to the WTC final.

India are likely to open with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill after the two batsmen impressed in India’s series victory earlier this year in Australia. Rohit continued his good form and hit 345 runs, including a hundred and a fifty, in difficult batting conditions against England at home.

Ever since Rohit began opening for India in Tests in 2019, the India star has been a prolific contributor to the team’s success. In fact, Rohit is among the only 6 batsmen who have hit more than 1000 runs in the current World Test Championship cycle.

However, this will be the first time Rohit will open for India in a Test match in English conditions, which quite resemble the nature of pitches in New Zealand.

“Again, it is pitch dependent. I think I can’t stress that enough. I think if the ball is moving around then Rohit will have his struggles,” Styris told Star Sports during the Game Plan show.

“In the Select Dugout, we have done demonstrations after demonstrations about how Rohit doesn’t really move his feet a lot early in his innings. If that’s the case, then the swinging ball could be a problem for him,” he added.

New Zealand pacers Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Matt Henry had good outings against England in the recently-concluded Test series.

Scott Styris believes that New Zealand have an all-round bowling attack and Neil Wagner will be a vital cog in their set-up due to his ability to make things happen with the old ball as well.

“There is no secret to New Zealand’s fast bowling plan if you like and that is Southee, Boult and either Jamieson or de Grandhomme will be the third seamer and they bowled till about the 22nd to 28th over with a new ball.

“And then Neil Wagner comes into the equation. So, when you talk about Wagner, it’s his ability to be aggressive and be a genuine wicket taking option for somebody like Kohli in those middle overs till the new ball comes around,” he said.

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Vipin Darwade