Hitman Loves to Pull

There is nothing quite like a Rohit Sharma pull shot to encapsulate the vast complexities in cricket. He did it to Trent Boult and then Lockie Ferguson in the third T20I against New Zealand.

Hitman Loves to Pull

It is a shot marked by stillness - or at least the illusion of stillness through economy of movement - and yet the result is violence. It is a shot that belongs more in shorter formats, but the geometrical precision of the Rohit pull means it wouldn't be out of place in a Test match.

Hitman Loves to Pull

It's a strength because it brings him plenty of runs, but it's also a weakness because he always goes for it, and that can get him out. If you're an opener in the shortest international format, you need to take the risk of getting out if the potential returns are sixes and fours.

Hitman Loves to Pull

It's a risk-reward equation that treads a fine line, especially when you're a batter like Rohit. Will the team benefit more by you buying some settling in time and setting yourself up for a bat-through-the-innings role?

Hitman Loves to Pull

The risk is that you fall early, and balls have been eaten up without the big payoff at the end. The reward is that few can be as devastating when set. That risk is accentuated in strong batting sides.

Hitman Loves to Pull

The two main sides Rohit plays for - Mumbai Indians and the Indian T20I team - have both been strong batting units. Rohit's earlier method wasn't not-working. He was still a key component of the batting line-ups.

Hitman Loves to Pull

In the series against New Zealand, Rohit hit a particularly sweet spot - getting big runs at pace in a 3-0 sweep. However, the only time he consciously tried to attack more was in the third T20I at Eden Gardens, and that was because he had chosen to challenge himself and his team by batting first on winning the toss

Hitman Loves to Pull

Whether done consciously or not, his attacking shot percentage has risen sharply this year. Figures when chasing are too target-dependent for analysis, but they are useful for context.

Hitman Loves to Pull

In 2021, Rohit has attacked 66 out of 144 balls in the powerplay when batting second, which is 45.83%. In comparison, in 2019 and 2020, he attacked 54 out of 224 balls faced in the powerplay in the second innings - 24.11%.

Hitman Loves to Pull

A more aggressive Rohit up top naturally means viewers will get to see more of the Rohit pulls.  The pull shot is Rohit's strength. And a Rohit looking to be more aggressive could just be India's strength.