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Rohit Sharma: The Prodigal Son Returns

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

Rohit Sharma: The Prodigal Son Returns. Will Rohit Sharma be successful as India’s Test Opener?

Written by Dhaval Sethi – The India Fan, https://bleedblue.sport.blog

If Rohit Sharma’s Test career could be compared to a movie series, it would definitely be the Fast and Furious series. Every time you think he’s finished, the selectors find another way to bring him into the 11. Ahead of South Africa’s Test assignment in India, he’s been all but confirmed as India’s new opening batsman. A position where he has never previously batted in Tests.

My heart tells me Rohit won’t be another Suresh Raina, who was given too many chances in a format that he just didn’t have the game for. My mind tells me otherwise.

One thing which cannot be doubted is the quality of Rohit Sharma’s batting. Since he was made an opening batsmen in the 50-over side, his record has been phenomenal. You could argue that recently Rohit has been as good as – if not better – than Kohli and that really is saying something. Not to mention his unbelievable World Cup where he became the first batsmen to hit five centuries in a single edition.

Also read: Rohit headlines 2019 World Cup Team of the Tournament

Top 10 ODI Run scorers since Rohit Sharma was promoted to opener in July 2013:

Rohit Sharma: The Prodigal Son Returns. Will Rohit Sharma be successful as India's Test Opener? Rohit Sharma named as India's Test Opener
Rohit Sharma has been superb in ODIs since 2013.

The formula through which Rohit has scored these runs is well known to all. The first 20-odd balls are a struggle and the best opportunity to dismiss him. This is typified by his slow strike rate at the beginning of his innings. However, if he survives this phase, he grows in confidence and it is usually just a matter of time before the runs start flowing. And once he’s reached his century, just ask the Sri Lankans how things tend to go.

Rohit Sharma: The Prodigal Son Returns. Will Rohit Sharma be successful as India's Test Opener? Rohit Sharma named as India's Test Opener
Rohit Sharma is one of the finest limited overs batsmen in history.

Can Rohit Sharma adjust well enough to the Test format?

This formula unfortunately raises a fundamental issue. Test matches will not allow Rohit the same luxuries as one-day cricket. Bowlers can keep bowling at that 4th/5th stump line and the slips will stay in place all day. This is something Rohit has struggled with even when the ball is old, let alone a brand-new ball. Does Rohit really have the temperament and technique to leave the ball outside off stump religiously? Add to this the need to remain patient even if he gets through the initial period. History, such as his poor stroke in the first innings against Australia in Adelaide in 2018, suggests not.

Also read: Should India stick with KL Rahul at the top of the order?

Now, Rohit has to repay the faith. The likes of Priyank Panchal (898 runs in Ranji Trophy 2018/19 at 59.86) and Abhiman Easwaran (861 runs at 95.66) are knocking on the door for an opportunity. It perhaps should have come now, given Rohit is now 32, rendering his call up to the Test opening position as one that is unlikely to be a long-term option.

However, does all this mean Rohit the Test Opener is destined for failure? Not necessarily. I see two potential scenarios where this move could be successful. One option is to mimic Kohli’s approach in the 2018 Test series against England. Kohli showed incredible discipline to leave virtually everything outside off stump, hence silencing his doubters and scoring a brilliant 593 runs in the series. Can Rohit find this same resilience? Alternatively, given his ball-striking ability, Rohit could take the Sehwag approach. Whichever way Rohit goes, let’s hope this is finally the time a batsmen who has promised so much delivers in Test cricket. The Indian team needs it, and frankly it’s do or die for Rohit’s Test career.

Written by Dhaval Sethi – The India Fan, https://bleedblue.sport.blog

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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