Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians have endured one of their worst ever starts to any IPL campaign, succumbing to their fifth successive defeat in IPL 2022 last night with a 12-run loss to Punjab Kings at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. Yet to open their account, the five-time champions are languishing at the bottom of the table and remain the only team stuck on zero points as the league moves into its 3rd week.
While Mumbai have not really been able to rebuild after a weak showing at the IPL 2022 Auctions in the February this year, the lack of runs from their skipper Rohit Sharma is a cause of big worry for the franchise. Rohit Sharma, otherwise a prolific run-getter in the league has not managed a single fifty plus score this so far, despite getting starts in three of the five games that he has played. Ever since Rohit took over the Mumbai Indians captaincy midway in 2013, MI has gone on to become the most successful team in the league, but Rohit’s returns with the bat have been diminishing.
Former India international Sanjay Manjrekar had opined that he felt Rohit could step down from captaincy, similar to how Virat Kohi did in RCB and concentrate more on his batting, “I feel Pollard still adds value. (Before the season) I even felt Rohit Sharma might leave captaincy like Virat Kohli, relax a bit, play as a pure batter and hand the responsibility to Pollard who is a brilliant international captain,” Manjrekar had said in ESPNCricinfo ahead of the match against Punjab.
Overall, Rohit has 5718 runs to his name in 109 matches at an average of 30.91. however, this season he has managed just 108 runs in five matches at 21.60. And since 2017, Rohit has not averaged over 30 in an IPL season. On the other hand, before 2017, Rohit had averaged over 30 in seven of the nine IPL seasons he was part of. Even though Rohit took over the captaincy way before this slump, it is pretty evident that lately, Rohit has not been at his flamboyant best and more often than not has tried to play the anchor role for his team.
“His record has been like this for the last 3-4 seasons, average less than 30, strike-rate not 150 or 160. When he plays for India his numbers get better… because then he only thinks about himself and less about the team,” added Manjrekar. He also went on to add someone like a Pollard has the ability to turn the game around, but he cannot be expected to do that throughout the season and the onus is on the likes of Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav to provide the lower order with the platform where they can launch an all-out attack, which unfortunately has not been the case this season so far.