Rohit should take a cue from Virat: Manjrekar

The former India batsman feels players are burdened by meaningless routines imposed by the support staff.

Rohit Sharma

Bangalore: Talented Rohit Sharma needs the kind of "mental discipline” that Virat Kohli possesses to score consistently. The bowling arsenal is a worry for India. Members of the support staff of the various national teams, like physiotherapists and trainers etc., have "little knowledge” and are making players do too much gym work instead of making them play cricket.

These are some of the observations that "concerned” former Test batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has made on the current state of affairs in Indian cricket, and he particularly "fears” that the training methods being employed by the support staff are not right.

Manjrekar, who is here as part of the TV commentary team for the ongoing India-New Zealand second Test, said Rohit would've to score consistently to get back into the reckoning for the national team.

"It's one thing having talent and another getting runs, and there's another thing: getting runs consistently. And for that, only talent is not enough; there's a lot of mental discipline that comes in, and you see it in Virat Kohli,” Manjrekar told Mail Today. "Kohli has crafted Test match innings of quality, and it's not been so much about physical skill as it's about mental discipline.

That's where Rohit tends to take things a little casually, when he plays by instinct a lot. He has a very free-flowing game with a lot of on-the-up kind of shots.

When he's in full flow and in conditions where he's well set, he looks a world beater,” emphasised the 47-year-old explayer.

"But there are occasions — like Kohli does at the start of an innings — when he has to be a little restrained. All that comes by playing more and more cricket and setting high standards for yourself -which is just about run making.”

Rohit, 25, has promised a lot but has not delivered as much so far — and he has been a bit unlucky too. For instance, in early 2010 he got injured minutes before he was set to make his Test debut. He hasn't been able to break into the Test XI, though he has played 85 One-Day Internationals.

Giving the example of Sachin Tendulkar's "prodigious talent” as a youngster, Manjrekar said: "He was obsessed with getting runs so he used the talent well.

Sometimes he made sure that he was not getting too attacking and didn't take things lightly at all at any stage of his career because he was obsessed with the big scores — not one in three innings but was looking to get big scores in every innings.

"That's how mental discipline comes. Rohit needs to get into that kind of mould where he sets high standards for himself, sets run-only goals, and things should change for the better for him.

He'll have to keep getting hundreds one after the other. And while all that is happening, he'll learn some important aspects of batting discipline.” Concerned at the regular player breakdowns, Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs, questioned the methods physiotherapists and trainers have adopted.

"One of the biggest fears that I've is that the kind of people that are around cricket teams these days; the number of support staff is increasing. There are a lot of people out there with little knowledge — half-knowledge is what I call it — who are trying to get their own training methods in. Sometimes I wonder that there's too much focus on fitness and training of young bowlers rather than keeping it simple and making them bowl a lot,” he said.

"For example, pacer Umesh Yadav at this stage — and Javagal Srinath also told me this informally — needs only one thing, which is to bowl a number of overs. That's how bowing fitness is developed and that cannot be replicated by any amount of training and gym work. And that's what a lot of support staff tends to do – to pull cricketers into the territory they are familiar with and they themselves have not been bowlers and cricketers.

This is a tendency one has to be careful about.”

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