3 middle-order batsmen who became successful openers: The Sports Rush present before an elite list of transformation in cricket.
India limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma is all set to become the latest cricketer to convert his status from that of a middle-order batsman to an opening batsman in Test cricket. With out of form Lokesh Rahul omitted from the Test squad for South Africa series, Sharma has been announced as his replacement.
While Sharma was already part of the squad, he wasn’t getting a chance in the Playing XI. The vacant position in the top-order seems to be the only option to accommodate Sharma in the Test team. Having successfully made the transformation in limited-overs cricket, there are plentiful expectations from Sharma with his new role.
For the first five years of his ODI career, Sharma batted in the middle-order (4-7) scoring 1,847 runs in 75 ODIs at an average of 34.20 and a strike rate of 79.92 including two centuries and 12 half-centuries.
Sharma underwent a change of fortunes since permanently opening the batting in 2012. In 134 ODIs as an opener till now, he has scored amassed 6,719 runs at an average of 57.42 and a strike rate of 92 including 25 centuries and 30 half-centuries.
Having played cricket at the highest level for 12 years, Sharma has it in him to adjust to the demands of a Test opener. If the ploy works well for India, it will doubtlessly aid them in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship.
3 middle-order batsmen who became successful openers
Irrespective how Sharma plays in the upcoming Test series, he will be instantly compared to former India opening batsman Virender Sehwag. Having begun as a middle-order batsman, Sehwag had set the example of playing record-breaking innings even in a contrasting batting position.
Another reason why Sharma will be compared to Sehwag is because both the players became openers because of dearth in the middle-order and them being too good to be left out.
Captains/coaches/selectors everywhere these days are quick on the eject button. Onus is on Rohit Sharma — as opener now — to secure a place in Test team for a longish period. But I do hope he gets a reasonable run to do this
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) September 12, 2019
Despite Sehwag scoring 309 runs in his first five Test at an average of 51.50 and a strike rate of 64.64, the then captain Sourav Ganguly had made him open the batting in a legendary decision.
In 99 Tests as an opening batsman, Sehwag ended up scoring 8,207 runs at an average of 50.04 and a strike rate of 83.10 including 22 centuries and 30 half-centuries. It is worth mentioning that Sehwag is the fifth-highest run-scorer as an opening batsman in Test matches.