Players now play Mendis better: Rohit

Rohit Sharma reckons Indian players had become more adept in reading the guiles of Ajantha Mendis after getting the chance to play frequently against him.

updated: September 09, 2008 06:53 IST
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Young middle order batsman Rohit Sharma reckons Indian players had become more adept in reading the guiles of mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis in the one-day series after getting the chance to play frequently against him on the recent tour of Sri Lanka.

He also did not foresee the Indian batsmen experiencing any difficulties against the Lankan bowling sensation in the future.

"You might have seen what happened in the one-day series (in Sri Lanka). He did not get as many wickets (as in the Tests). That was because our players had played him more often by then. I don't see any difficulty (in playing Mendis) in the future," Sharma said before leaving for Chennai to represent Mumbai in the Buchi Babu tournament.

Mendis mesmerised the strong Indian batting line-up in the Test series, in which the 21-year-old Sharma could not get a look-in though he was part of the squad, by grabbing 26 wickets with his bewitching mixture that included what's known as the "carrom ball", the one flicked with his middle finger.

Mendis, who formed a deadly combination with the world's highest Test wicket-taker, off spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan, in the three-Test rubber that his team won 2-1, was slightly less successful in the five-match one-day series that followed and which was won by India.

The 23-year-old Lankan, India's bugbear from the Asia Cup final in Pakistan, still managed to take 13 wickets in the ODI series at just under 12 per victim, but could not prevent the Indian team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni from clinching the ODI series for the first time in Lanka.

Sharma, who played for Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League, was candid in saying he was not very successful with the bat in the ODI series in Lanka, without assigning any reason for his poor display that fetched him just 72 runs in five innings.

His scores were 19 and 0 in Dumbulla followed by 32, 18 and 3 in the last three day/night ODIs held at Colombo.

"I did not perform well, but am very happy with the way the (ODI) team performed. It was more a team effort than an individual one," said the Nagpur-born player who is seen as the next big hope from Mumbai which has produced an array of fine batsmen.

Asked how soon he expected to force his way into the Test squad after being at its doorstep for some time now, the youngster said he did not worry about such things and wanted to concentrate on scoring runs whenever given a chance.

"It's not up to me. My aim will be to go and perform, do my job well by scoring runs whenever I get a chance," said the batsman who has four half centuries to his credit from 28 ODIs.

Sharma said he looked forward to staying in the middle and scoring a lot of runs in the Buchi Babu tournament ahead of the forthcoming lengthy international season which commences with the four-Test rubber for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.