Indian cricket team start with the new opener in Test cricket in the upcoming series against South Africa.
The Test series between India and South Africa will start from October 2. This series is the part of World Test Championship in which India will play three Test matches against the Proteas.
A month ago, India beat West Indies by 2-0 in the two-match Test series. India’s squad for the series against South Africa is almost the same as the squad against Windies. However, in this series, India excluded both KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah from the team.
India’s limited-overs cricket opener and one of the best batsmen currently, Rohit Sharma will open the innings with Mayank Agarwal against South Africa. This is going to be the first time in International test cricket when Rohit opens the innings.
Rohit did not play a Test match in West Indies but this time selectors have given him a chance to open the innings in the red-ball cricket format.
It will be interesting to see the Hitman’s approach as a Test opener in this series.
Why Rohit Sharma had to wait so long to open in Tests?
What Rohit has achieved in limited-overs cricket as an opener. Currently, he is the World’s best batsman in limited-overs cricket. Rohit Sharma is regular in India’s ODI and T20 teams since 2013 when he started opening. Now, the question is why he did not get a chance yet to open the innings in Test cricket?
In November 2013, Rohit had made his debut in Test cricket against West Indies. In that series, he played two innings and scored a century in both the innings while batting at No. 6. After this series, Rohit did not perform well outside India, especially in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries. Since 2014, Rohit is not a regular in team India’s playing XI for Test matches. When the team plays with five batsmen, then Rohit sat on the bench.
After Dhawan and Vijay’s exclusion from the Test team, India did not find a good pair to open the innings in Test cricket. From last one year, India has tried many players in Tests as openers like – KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, and Murali Vijay. However, it has till now been unfair for a player of Rohit’s ability to not be a regular in the Test team. Finally, he has gotten his chance to open the innings after Rahul’s exclusion.
Can Rohit become the successful Test opener for India?
In the Gandhi-Mandella (India vs South Africa) series, the total focus is on Rohit Sharma as compared to the series result. Before Rohit Sharma, players like Sir Vivan Richards and Virender Sehwag became successful Test openers after starting their careers playing down the order.
A number of cricket players and pundits compare Hitman with Virender Sehwag. Sehwag played at No.6 and No.7 in Tests before becoming a legendary opener. In 2001, former captain Sourav Ganguly gave him his opportunity as an opener in Tests against England. As an opener, Sehwag scored 8207 runs for India with an average of 50.04. He also became India’s best opener in Test cricket history after Sunil Gavaskar.
Rohit’s case is also the same as Sehwag’s. He comes from Bombay school of cricket and is technically correct. He is a star player for India in ODI and T20 cricket. It will be interesting to see his approach as an opener in Test cricket.
Last chance for Rohit to prove himself in Test cricket
Undoubtedly, this is going to be the Hitman’s last chance to prove himself in Test cricket. Rohit is 32-years old and most of the time selectors and team management’s inclination is on selecting young players for grooming them.
If he does not perform in the upcoming series against Bangladesh then team management will definitely look for other alternatives. Rohit’s fan following is very huge and most cricket fans, experts and players will hope for a good performance from him in Test cricket.