Rohit Sharma Test opener: The Indian coach was vocal about sharing the idea with the senior batsman way back in 2015.
India limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has plentiful limelight on him with respect to his new role in the Test team. Slated to open the innings for the first time in Tests, Sharma finds himself in a similar position when he underwent the transition in limited-overs several years ago.
There is no hiding to the fact that Sharma’s career experienced a turnaround after he started to open the innings in both ODIs and T20Is.
Since opening the batting, Sharma’s ODI average and strike rate rose from 30.43 and 77.93 to 57.42 and 92 respectively. From two centuries in 86 ODIs to 25 in 134 ODIs, the 32-year old batsman has come a long way since becoming an opener.
Of course the bigger news is that Rohit Sharma will be the opening. At this stage of his career, this could be make-or-break as far as Tests go
— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) September 12, 2019
Ravi Shastri on Rohit Sharma Test opener
In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Shastri revealed that he had suggested Sharma to open the innings for Mumbai. Shastri also ensured that the team management will give Sharma time to adjust in his new role.
“I told Rohit [Sharma], way back in 2015-16, to start opening for Mumbai. Always felt he had the X-factor. But it is always difficult, not easy for a No. 5 or 6 to do it. But it is just a mind thing, if he gets over it, he is going to be a match-winner there as well, and we are going to give him time. We are not going to push him,” Shastri was quoted as saying.
Sharma will be instantly compared to legendary opening batsman Virender Sehwag for he also changed his status from a middle-order batsman to an opening batsman. Not as successful as Sehwag, current India coach Ravi Shastri had also went through a similar phase during his playing days.
“That is the main reason why I told him in 2015 because I was speaking from my experience. There are a lot of players who should have opened for India, just to eliminate a batsman, but very few had the balls. Sometimes in the subcontinent you just need five batsmen. That was my opportunity, that’s how I got to open the innings,” Shastri added.
Slated to both captain and open for the Board’s President XI in the warm-up match against South Africa today, Sharma would be disappointed with the first day getting washed out due to rain in Vizianagaram.