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Rohit blames it on poor shot selection

Centurion: Indian batsmen have been reeling under the onslaught of South African bowlers on bouncy wickets in the ongoing ODI series, but opener Rohit Sharma has dismissed talks of lack of technique and blamed the debacle to want of application.

Rohit said the South African conditions were not a problem for his side’s batsmen and the fault lay mainly in the lack of big partnerships, which he said has resulted in the visitors already losing the three-match series after back-to-back defeats.

“In the last game in Durban, the conditions were pretty much similar to what we get in India. There was a bit of bounce, but as a batsman, you need to understand that you are playing in South Africa.

“It is really up to each individual how they tackle it, understand their game and adjust accordingly and know what shots to be played on these kind of pitches,” Rohit said on the eve of the final ODI.

“What we are missing are partnerships... Over the last year, we have maintained good partnerships and it is not happening here. We need to get one 100-run partnership and a couple of 50-run partnerships. That is not happening, but I am sure we have one more game and hopefully the batsmen will step up and take the responsibility,” he said.

Pointing out the lack of partnerships by the Indian batsmen, Rohit said: “In Durban, the bowlers bowled really well, bowling good spells, both spinners and fast bowlers… We were supposed to chase 280. Our drawback in this series has been we kept losing wickets at regular intervals, which is not going to help when chasing such targets. I feel those partnerships are crucial. If you keep losing wickets, there is not much you can do.”

“There is no excuse of being short on match practice. We have been playing continuously in the last three months or so. We just need to be aware of our shot selection, nothing else,” he said. Rohit said the team were hoping for a turnaround. “The ball swings here more than in India. But we have played in England and in the West Indies. Coach Duncan Fletcher has been telling us that this is the best to bat, once you are in. It is about understanding what shots you need to play,” Rohit said.

“We are here to compete and not have fun and just look around South Africa. Since the day we arrived here, we have wanted to prove a point. We tried our best, but unfortunately it did not work out. Wednesday’s game will give us an ideal opportunity. The bowlers and batsmen will have to step up. We need to get together”, he said.

“The Test series will be a different ball game. We are not actually thinking about it right now. We are all focused on how to win this game,” Rohit said.

About the Indian middle order, which is yet to click, Rohit said: “It is not that they are out of form… They are batting well whenever they have got changes. It is just that off late, our middle order hasn’t got much time to bat in the middle.”