Rohit Sharma has done almost everything right with his batting and leadership skills in the ODI and T20 format for India. He has scored the bulk of the runs at the top order, led India to the Asia Cup title win and T20 series win against West Indies. To make his success even better, the MSK Prasad led selection panel had a surprise for him, a spot in the test squad for India's tour of Australia.
There were many eyebrows raised about his selection in the upcoming tour of Australia. Has he done enough in the domestic or international level in the red ball format to earn a recall into the Test squad? Does he deserve a chance ahead of Karun Nair, Hanuma Vihari, and Mayank Agarwal who has scored a truckload of runs in domestic cricket?
Rohit Sharma has played his last test match against South Africa in January 2018 and scored 11,10,10,47 in the four innings he played there. Selectors dropped him for the game against Afghanistan at home. He made it neither to the tour of England nor the home series against West Indies.
What could have been the strategy behind selecting Rohit Sharma ahead of the existing reserve players for the tour of Australia? Is it his excellent form with the white ball format or the exposure at the international level which may come handy in Australian conditions? The selection criteria remain interesting in this scenario.
Rohit had a dream debut match against West Indies in 2013 as he scored 177 which is also his highest in the test format and played a crucial role in India's innings victory. He made it better with his second century in the following game and promised a solid prospect in the middle order.
However, he was not consistent and inability to convert the starts into the big scores denied him a stable spot in the Indian squad. His third century for India came after a gap of four years in 2017 against Srilanka. The South African tour paved the way for his exit from the team after the poor batting performance in the two test matches he played.
Rohit's fortunes changed by the time India started preparing for the next big away tour after the England series. Selectors have preferred him in spite of his poor test records in the past. He had received a word of confidence from the former Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly as well. Ganguly expressed his opinion that Rohit has matured a lot as a player in the last couple of years and should get a chance in the test format.
Rohit has received another chance to prove his skills and show the world that he belongs to Test cricket as well. He also has an added responsibility to justify selector's decision to select him ahead of Karun Nair, Vihari and Mayank Agarwal. Till then, there will be questions asked about his selection and only time will tell us how successful he will be on the Australian tour.