With Rohit Sharma set to make his debut as an opener in Tests, legendary Sunil Gavaskar has given him an advise on what he needs to do to succeed. Unlike ODIs and T20Is, Rohit Sharma does not open in Tests. Just like his early limited-overs career, he bats in the middle-order in the longest format of the game.
However, with KL Rahul out of form and Prithvi Shaw suspended due to doping violation, the team-management has decided to try out Rohit at the top in the longest format of the game. The team-management will be hoping that Rohit Sharma replicates his ODI and T20I form in Tests too.
Rohit Sharma held an average of 30 in 81 ODI games until the then captain MS Dhoni came up with the idea of promoting him up the order in 2013. There is no looking back since then and Rohit is now one of the best if not the best opener in the world. As of now, Rohit averages 39.6 in 27 Test matches spread over the past six years with just three fifties outside home.
And as Rohit gears up to open in Tests, one of the all-time greats Sunil Gavaskar has delivered a suggestion for him. The former India skipper made it clear that Rohit will succeed in Tests if he has a good shot selection.
“Look we know there is a difference between red and white ball. The white ball can stop swinging in five overs. With the kind of stitches on the red leather, you may find it swinging even after the 35 to 40 over mark.
“So facing up against swing is a different matter and he does struggle a bit against the incoming ball. Having said that, if his shot selection is good, he will be able to score in test cricket too,” Gavaskar told India Today.
Promoting a middle-order batsman to open is nothing new in Indian cricket. Former India opener Virender Sehwag started as a middle-order batsman before retiring as one of the best Test openers in the history of the game. When asked about the comparison, Gavaskar pointed out Rohit would need to tighten his defence to have hope of succeeding in Test cricket like Sehwag.
“When we talk about Rohit Sharma, he doesn’t have the water tight defence like Virender Sehwag. But he perhaps has more shots than Sehwag. Sehwag would not hit the ball so much on the on side. Rohit can use the pull and hook very well. So Rohit does have more attacking shots. If he can tighten up his defence against the good balls, he can also be successful like Sehwag in Test cricket,” he said.