Rohit Sharma vs Shubman Gill: India have two potential opening batsmen for the imminent Test series against South Africa.
There is no going into a safe house regarding the stunning numbers India limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has produced while opening the batting at the highest level. Having started as a middle-order batsman more than a decade ago, Sharma is arguably the best contemporary limited-over opener right now.
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 right-hand batsman 32-year old batsman has come a long way since becoming an opener.
In T20Is, Sharma’s average and strike rate has risen from 24.78 and 125.27 to 34.27 and 138.68 respectively. From three half-centuries in 30 innings, Sharma transformed to score four centuries and 13 half-centuries in 65 T20Is.
Rohit Sharma vs Shubman Gill: Who will open in South Africa Tests?
Been once again named in India’s Test team for South Africa Tests, Sharma appears all set to face the new ball for the first time in cricket’s ancestral format. Come the first Test on October 2 in Visakhapatnam, expect Sharma to open the batting alongside Mayank Agarwal.
“Rohit Sharma has been selected in the side as an opener. He will open in the three matches and also for the Board President XI [as the captain]. Want to give him an opportunity to open the innings in Tests,” Indian chief selector MSK Prasad was quoted as saying during the press conference after announcing the team.
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
With opening batsman Lokesh Rahul dropped on the back of a lean patch, expect Sharma to get an extended run at the top of the order. It is worth mentioning that India will play a couple of Test matches with Bangladesh after the South Africa series. Five Tests should be enough to judge Sharma’s potential as an opener in this format.