Can Rohit be the next Sehwag in Indian Test cricket?
Batting Worries against English Bowling Attack
The Indians have been completely outplayed by England in the ongoing Test series. Indian batting have had no answers whatsoever to the swing and consistency of Anderson, Broad and co. Apart from skipper Virat Kohli, none of the batsmen have shown any resistance to the disciplined English bowling attack.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan was dropped for the second test after his scores of 26 and 13 in the first Test. His opening partner Murali Vijay got a pair in the second Test while his scores of 20 and 6 in first Test was nowhere near the standard he has set for himself.
Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t play first Test. He did not contribute in the second Test either. Kohli was the lone warrior for India in the first Test with his brilliant 149 in first innings followed by a patient 50 in second innings.
Lower middle order hasn’t lived upto the expectations so far. Indian team has a lot of expectations from guys like Ajinkya Rahane who hasn’t delivered for the team either. So far, it has been very disappointing show from the Indian batsmen against quality English bowling attack.
Time for some Tactical Changes
Is it really the time to try something new. Some new experiments, some new choices or some unorthodox decisions ? We all have witnessed how Rohit Sharma evolved as a limited overs batsman after he was promoted as opener in 2013. He has scored three double centuries in One Day Internationals including a record breaking 264 against Sri Lanka in 2017.
Rohit’s Career So Far
'Talent' was the word that was always associated with Rohit since we first saw him bat. But, the Mumbaikar wasn’t able to reflect the same in his performances. When he toured Australia in 2008, his lazy elegance was compared to one of the best in the business, Inzamam-ul-Haq.
He showed great promise in that series against Australia. Post that series, he had a lean run in the international arena. A good performance was followed by a string of low scores. Earlier in his career, a typical Rohit’s innings would comprise of throwing his wicket away with a loose shot after getting set.
The Turning Point in Rohit’s Career
The then Indian skipper MS Dhoni came up with a smart move in 2013. He promoted Rohit as opener in an ODI against England in 2013. He was also handed the opener's role in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.
The move by MS Dhoni was the turning point of Rohit’s career. He has now established himself as one of the best limited overs batsman of the current generation. On his day, he can be very dangerous which he has proven time and again.
Virat can do to Rohit what Dada did to Sehwag
If he can be such dangerous limited overs batsman, why not to try him in Tests? Everyone knows what Virender Sehwag did for India as an opener. Sehwag was as equally successful in Tests as he was in ODIs.
It was Sourav Ganguly who promoted Sehwag as opener, it was Dhoni who changed the career of Rohit in limited overs format. Perhaps, Virat should look to do the same. He should give opportunities to Rohit as an opener in Tests.
Rohit is a natural stroke maker who can knock the ball around as well as clear the field when required. Rather than making him play with tail enders in the lower middle order, it would be a boon for the team if he can provide that initial momentum at the start of the innings with his attacking strokeplay.
Of late, the Indian Test team have been dearly missing a swashbuckling opener in Tests. Rohit might be the answer to the same. He is someone who can easily take the game away from the opposition in a single session.