For his fabulous run in the last couple of years, Rohit Sharma has developed a reputation for himself among the modern-day limited-overs greats. With his splendid form and consistency at the top of the order in ODIs, Rohit has earned himself a well-deserved chance to resurrect his flailing Test career. In absence of the likes of KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and young Prithvi Shaw, Rohi has been given the nod to replicate his phenomenal limited-overs success as a Test opener when the experiment begins against South Africa in the series opener in Visakhapatnam. On Tuesday, skipper Virat Kohli said that Rohit will be given time to grow into his new role as a Test opener.
Kohli further added that Rohit’s promotion to the opening slot in Tests could end up making the Indian batting line-up more lethal in the longer format. “…if he does that (succeeds in the opening role), then our batting order at the top becomes more lethal. It is difficult to have a player like that to not start every time,” said Kohli on the eve of the first Test against South Africa.
“…if he comes into his own then the whole batting order looks a completely different batting order anywhere in the world,” added the skipper.
Asked if the management is thinking of giving Rohit at least five to six Tests, Kohli said: “We are not looking to rush him. There is a different pattern you follow in India and different abroad. The opening is a spot where you have to give a player space to understand his own game.
“He will be given space to find his game and come into his own,”
The skipper said it would be great for the team if Rohit can play the role Virender Sehwag did in his prime while insisting that the team is not looking for any specific kind of approach from the stylish batsman. “In Test cricket, I started at (number) six then came up to four. It was more of a mental thing. If you can convince yourself you can do it. Test cricket is about finding your game in different conditions.
“We are not looking at a certain kind of display of batting from Rohit. It is about him finding his game at the top. Yes, his strength is to take the game forward. Like what Viru bhai used to do for the team for a long period.
“So, it is not as if someone would have told Viru bhai to attack and get a hundred before lunch. His natural instinct took over and he could demolish attacks once he felt comfortable,” he explained.
With the World Test Championship up for grabs, Kohli said Rohit succeeding at the top will help the team hugely. “We have given people opportunities in the past. Mayank (Agarwal) came into the syetem, KL had been there for a while, (Murali) Vijay was there for a while. So there will always be room for people to come in because of their performances.
“But we feel because we have a Test championship to look forward to and Rohit’s been in the Test set up for a long time it’s about providing him the opportunity and find that template that he wants to in Test cricket,” the Indian captain concluded.