Leeds: India opener Rohit Sharma, once deemed a white ball specialist, has proved himself to be the technically most adept of all the India batsmen during the ongoing Test series in England.
He is the only batsman, besides Joe Root (826) and K.L. Rahul (590), to have faced 500 balls in the series (583).
His ability to curb natural instincts and play time, while seeing of the new ball has impressed everyone.
"Total admiration for @ImRo45 as he can play those charismatic shots anytime but curbing his natural game for his team by playing the condition and the situation [emoticon: clapping hands sign]," tweeted former India cricketer Irfan Pathan.
Former India and England cricketers, who are commentating, were also effusive in praise.
For a man whose strike rate in 227 ODIs is 88.9 and strike rate in 39 Tests prior to the start of this series was around 60, the sudden switch to slow mode has been done with ease.
His strike rate in the ongoing series is just under 40. What came as a bigger surprise was Pujara outscored and outpaced him on the third day. Pujara had a strike rate of around 55 when Sharma (59 off 156 balls at a strike rate of 37.82) was dismissed.
Ever since he was thrust into the role of opening batsman back in 2019, he has done extremely well. There were questions over his ability to perform in overseas conditions. Those doubts can be put to rest for the time being as apart from K.L. Rahul, he has looked the most skillful.
The right-handed batsman, with an aggregate of 768 runs, is second in the list of top run-getters just behind Joe Root (1398 runs) this year. He has scored four half-centuries and one hundred.
While Root has been runaway success with six centuries and a fifty, Sharma is the only one besides teammates Rishabh Pant and Pujara, as well as Sri Lankan Lahiru Thirimanne, to score four half-centuries this year.