Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar has come out and backed Indian batsman Rohit Sharma by saying that the criticisms on him are too harsh. He also insisted that Rohit has contributed to the team’s cause in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka.

“If you look at the numbers, he has played 13 [14] Test matches and scored 800-900 [870] runs at an average of 40 [37.82] with two centuries, four half-centuries. I think if his critics can go back and compare the first 13 Test matches of any other cricketer who has played for a while, I think they would probably be less harsh on Rohit. I believe that in the matches he has played so far – obviously everybody wants to contribute more – he has definitely contributed to the team’s cause,” Bangar told ESPNcricinfo in an interview after completing a year as India batting coach.

Bangar also explained the reason behind choosing Rohit ahead of Pujara at number 3. Bangar said that the team management had decided to play Rohit at No. 3 in the fourth and final Test in Australia since “Pujara was having a tough time”. Bangar, however, admitted that once Rohit was brought lower down the order, the move worked better for the batsman and the team.

We are clear in our mind that we need to give enough time and opportunity for a player if we put him at a particular position before making the change. Pujara was having a tough time, so he [Rohit] was given a fair run at No. 3. He batted very well in Sydney (53 & 39). He got starts in both the innings but could not convert it into a big one. Bangladesh was just one innings. But you could see that just three innings prior to P Sara (second Test against Sri Lanka), he was scoring runs at No. 3. After those five opportunities, we felt that moving him down the order would benefit the team more. And it also made sure that he got some time because he also had put a lot of pressure on himself to perform. Somebody who constantly wants to contribute to the team’s cause. And it worked out beautifully. In both the Test matches (P Sara and SSC), he played vital innings for the team,” added Bangar.

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