Venerable politician and cricket aficionado, Shashi Tharoor, expects to see the best of Rohit Sharma against England in the upcoming Test series.
He said Sharma has got a 'new lease of life' as an opener and hoped that he can carry it on until he is fit.
Rohit Sharma had joined India's Test team in Australia after the second Test. Appointed the vice-captain soon after joining the team, Sharma got good starts in each of the four innings he played but failed to make it big.
His penchant for hitting big shots after playing out the new ball cost him more often than not and he could only make 129 runs at an average of 32.25.
In an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu, Shashi Tharoor said he will play Rohit Sharma as an opener even if he plays small cameos at the top.
"I think that the talent is so great, you can't leave him out. As long as he is fit enough to play, which has been another issue with him, I will play him even if he gives us these maddening cameos, where he gets out too early for the wrong reasons... I would rather take the occasional wonderful knock which he has given us also as an opening batsman. And I will never allow anyone to forget his first two centuries in his first two Tests. You may say he never lived up to it thereafter. But I think he's got a new lease of life. Give him time, I expect the best out of him against England in India and I am hoping he will carry it on in the white-ball game," said Tharoor.
Rohit Sharma has an outstanding record in home Test matches. He averages over 88 from 14 games in India with six centuries, a double hundred and five fifties.
Never understood the gulf between Rohit Sharma's Test and one-day performances: Shashi Tharoor
Rohit Sharma is currently ranked number two in the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen. Sharma is the only batsman in the world with three double hundreds in ODIs.
However, he initially played in the middle order in Tests where his record isn't nearly as good.
Commenting on the same, Tharoor said he finds it difficult to comprehend the 'gulf' between Rohit Sharma's performances across the formats.
But said that the role of the opener will fit him better.
"I have never understood the gulf between his Test and One Day performances. The Rohit Sharma who can batter the best bowlers in the world into submission in One Day matches and T20s, why does suddenly becomes shell-shocked in Test matches? I don't know. I think, the key now has been to give him the freedom to open because his habit of taking a few balls to settle down is perfect for the opening level. It makes him look more at a loss if he does that in the middle order," said Tharoor.
The much-anticipated England's tour of India will kickstart with the four-Test series, the first of which starts on February 5th.