India batsman Rohit Sharma's star fading fast in South Africa after the highs of 2017

Ashish Peter 10/02/2018
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Rohit Sharma's dismal tour of South Africa continues.

Rohit Sharma had a 2017 to remember in ODI cricket. The India limited-overs opening batsman registered six centuries in just 21 innings at an average of nearly 72. During the course of the year, he also notched up his third one-day double ton having already become the first batsman ever to hit two.

The Mumbai-man was also given a chance in the Test side as India enjoyed a long home season. He hit two fifties and a century against Sri Lanka in two Tests.

Hence, much was expected from Rohit as India embarked on a long tour of South Africa. Such had been his form that Virat Kohli selected him over Ajinkya Rahane for the first two Tests.

It has been almost a month and a half since Rohit arrived in South Africa at the start of the year and he has yet to register a fifty in eight innings. He was completely out of sorts in the two Test defeats bar one innings of 47 at Centurion. That innings came when the match was already lost.

Rohit had endured a torrid time against Kagiso Rabada.

Rohit had endured a torrid time against Kagiso Rabada.

His scores in the Test series read 11, 10, 10 and 47. His poor showing led to him being dropped for the final Test as India notched up a rare overseas win . If Rohit thought that the ODI series would bring a change in fortunes, he was proven wrong. His highest score so far is 20 after four matches for a poor tally of 40 runs.

The right-handed batsman is fast becoming South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada’s bunny with his dismissal on Saturday at the Wanderers the sixth time in eight innings that Rohit has fallen to the Proteas pacer.

From the highs of 2017 to the lows in South Africa, it has been a tumultuous ride for Rohit. There is no doubt he has the ability to turn it around soon. But the only question is when will that day come?

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Jos Buttler eyeing revenge over Australia but admits England will have to improve

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Jos Buttler is hoping for one more crack at toppling Australia’s Twenty20 specialists but knows England will have to improve considerably to reach the final of the Trans-Tasman tri-series.

An Australian side filled with fresh faces from the Big Bash booked their spot in the Auckland showpiece with a dominant seven-wicket win in Melbourne, having already coasted past England in their first match and blown away co-hosts New Zealand in the curtain-raiser.

England now need to back-to-back victories over the Black Caps in Wellington and Hamilton to stand any chance of heading home with the silverware but Buttler believes a desire to right some wrongs will go a long way.

“It was a disappointing day, especially after a poor performance in Hobart. We were determined to show what we are capable of and we didn’t do that,” said Buttler, deputising as captain for the injured Eoin Morgan.

“But that’s the beauty of a tri-series, we still have a chance to make the final. Hopefully we can meet Australia and put on a better show.

“We haven’t showcased our ability as we know we can yet and there are guys in that dressing room who will be determined to come back strong.”

In truth, England’s performance represented a significant downturn on their previous losing effort.

Last time out they started brightly with the bat and conjured some late drama with a spirited display in the field. In front of 42,000 at the MCG they were muted from the off and set a slender target of 138 which never
looked like containing Australia’s batting line-up.

Buttler produced the top-score of the match but laboured for his 46, while the likes of D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell all batted with unfettered freedom in a speedy chase.

Aaron Finch faced only five balls at the end of the match, firing the last two into the stands to seal victory with 33 deliveries spare.

That was the final act of England’s long tour of Australia, comprising a 4-0 Ashes defeat and a 4-1 one-day success to go with the last two T20s.

“We go to New Zealand now, a nice change of scene,” noted Buttler.

Man-of-the-match Kane Richardson, who claimed three for 33 to top and tail the tourists’ innings, opted for a respectful tone at odds with the crushing nature of the result.

“It’s always nice to win but I wouldn’t read too much into us having the wood over them. It’s a pretty similar England team to the ODIs and they smashed us pretty well in that series. I’d expect them to bounce back.”

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Shakib Al Hasan back in Bangladesh squad for Sri Lanka T20Is

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All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned from injury as Bangladesh Saturday made wholesale changes in their squad for the two-match Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka.

At least five uncapped players – wicketkeeper-batsman Zakir Hasan, pace bowler Abu Jayed and all-rounders Ariful Haque, Mahedi Hasan and Afif Hossain – have been included in the 15-man squad for the series, announced just after the conclusion of a Test series.

Fast bowler Abu Hider has been recalled for the first time since the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India, while Tamim Iqbal and Mustafizur Rahman also returned after missing a two-match Twenty20 series against South Africa in October.

Mominul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Nasir Hossain, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam and Taskin Ahmed, who were part of the Bangladesh squad for the South African T20s, have been dropped.

Shakib will lead the side after missing out the just-concluded Test series due to a finger injury.

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 215 runs in the second Test on Saturday to win the Test series 1-0.

The result came after their success in the preceding tri-nation one-day international tournament, where they beat hosts Bangladesh in the final.

The first of the two-match Twenty20 series will be held on February 15 in Dhaka and the second match will be played at Sylhet on February 18.

Bangladesh squad

Shakib Al Hasan (Capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Mahedi Hasan, Zakir Hasan and Afif Hossain.

Provided by AFP Sport

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