‘Un sabko khilane ka kya faida…’: Rohit Sharma on players showing ‘no hunger’ for Test cricket

The Indian cricket team, under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, achieved a commendable five-wicket victory in the fourth and final Test match against England this past Monday. Facing an intimidating target of 191 runs in Ranchi, the Indian side encountered some initial challenges. Yet, the pair of Dhruv Jurel and Shubman Gill emerged as the saviors, forging an invaluable partnership for the sixth wicket that ultimately led the team to triumph.

This series began with a setback for the Indian squad as they stumbled in the series opener at Hyderabad. However, what followed was an emphatic resurgence as India clinched the series with a 3-1 margin of victory on the fourth day of the Ranchi Test. Not only was this a series win for the home team, but it also denoted the first series loss for England under the recently appointed captain, Ben Stokes.

The standout performances in India’s conquest came from three aspiring talents: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, and Sarfaraz Khan. This trio valiantly stepped into the breach left by the absence of several seasoned pros, such as Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, and KL Rahul. These younger players seized the moment to shine, making an indelible mark on the series.

Rohit Sharma was effusive in his praise of these impressive youngsters during the post-match presentation. However, amidst the applause, he also expressed his trenchant views on the diminishing appetite for Test cricket in some young players. Without pointing fingers at specific individuals, Rohit expressed his discontentment regarding the selection of players who appear indifferent to the longest format of the game. He stated, “See, the one who doesn’t have hunger to play Tests can be seen, what’s the meaning of playing them?”

The captain’s blunt remarks during the press conference reflect a growing concern about the dedication of cricket’s newer generation to Test cricket. His words underscore the importance of desire and passion in representing one’s country at the highest level in this traditional format.

Dhruv Jurel, who was named the Player of the Match, played a significant role in India’s series victory. Jurel’s excellence was not limited to his unbeaten 39 runs in the second innings, which led India across the finish line. It extended to his stellar first-innings performance, where his 90-run knock proved to be a critical factor in curtailing England’s lead. Rohit highlighted this contribution as ‘very, very crucial’ for India’s competitive standing in that match.

Rohit also shared his observations on the ethos with which the younger members of the team have approached their duties. He noted their clear intentions and their drive to get the job done without needing constant reminders or pep talks. In particular, he commended Jurel for his composure and mature performance in just his second international game, asserting that Jurel, alongside Shubman Gill, displayed commendable calmness paired with wide-ranging shot-making abilities, which were pivotal in India’s success.

While experienced players provide a sense of stability and understanding of the game’s complexities, the infusion of youthful energy and talent is imperative for the evolution of every team. This series has been a testament to how young cricketers can step up in critical times and steer their team to victory. Nonetheless, Rohit Sharma’s pointed critique reminds us that while skill and potential are crucial, the hunger for success and a deep-seated passion for the game’s purest form must not wane if the legacy of Test cricket is to be preserved for future generations.

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