Following the failures of KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan in the past, India have decided to try Rohit Sharma at the opening slot in Tests. Chief selector MSK Prasad had made it clear while announcing the squads for the South Africa Tests.
In fact, KL Rahul was dropped and Mayank Agarwal and Rohit were named as the only openers in the side along with young Shubman Gill who was handed his maiden call-up.
Ahead of India’s first Test game against South Africa in Vishakapatnam on Wednesday, skipper Virat Kohli said that Rohit’s promotion to the opening slot in Tests could end up making the line-up “more lethal”.
Kohli also said that Rohit would be given enough “space” to find his game in red-ball cricket.
“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.
“If he comes into his own then the whole batting order looks a completely different batting order anywhere in the world,” added the skipper.
Kohli also revealed that the idea of promoting Rohit from the middle order was considered long ago but could only be implemented in the current scenario after an out of form KL Rahul was dropped from the side.
“For Rohit as well, clarity of role knowing that you have to play in a certain way is very crucial for a player and for us the communication happened long ago.
“But we could not see a situation but now there is a situation and it is an ideal time to go ahead with it because we have spoken about it. ODIs were the same with him.
“He was batting in the middle order and then suddenly opening conversations happened and within 6-8 months he was opening and we all know what happened after that. If he can do what he did in ODIs, it will be great for Indian cricket.”
With the ICC 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 system, 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,” he further added.