Anshuman Gaekwad believes that vice-captain Rohit Sharma should bat at number five in India's third Test against Australia. The former selector called Sharma a 'matchwinner' at any position but backed him to bat behind skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the middle-order.
Rohit Sharma is expected to bolster the side's batting line-up when he plays his first match in the current series. However, his inclusion will have to come at the expense of either Hanuma Vihari or Mayank Agarwal. Both Vihari and Agarwal have played important knocks for Team India before but their returns in the ongoing Test series have been negligible.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu, Gaekwad talked about Rohit Sharma's possible position in the batting order.
"I am sure a batsman like Rohit Sharma is a matchwinner. There's no question (about that). But where he will bat is a big question. I think, ideally speaking, Rohit gets in at number five after Rahane. I think that will be the ideal place for him," said Gaekwad.
Rohit Sharma has 6 international Test hundreds - 3 each as an opener and as a number 6 batter. His tons as an opener came just a year ago, in a single series against South Africa at home.
Gaekwad didn't rule out Rohit Sharma's opening prospects completely either and said that it will all boil down to the team management's decision.
"Practically, I am sure that they (the team management) will look at the interests of the team. And you never know, if required, and if the team management feels he should open, he will probably still open," Gaekwad added.
Can Rohit Sharma be the answer to the cracks in India's batting order?
Rohit Sharma averages 31 in Australia from 10 innings. He also has two fifties Down Under.
Despite leveling the series at Adelaide, the Indian team is yet to settle on an ideal opening partnership in the series. Irrespective of his position, Sharma's back-foot dominated technique, his propensity to make big hundreds and his enterprising batting style bodes well for the Indian team.
Sharma will also find himself in favorable batting conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He also has little high-intensity match practice to back him.
However, as the test in Adelaide showed, the Australian pace-trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood make it a completely different ball game for visiting batsmen.
If Sharma can stand tall against all odds and perform at his best, the Aussies will find it difficult to stop India from taking a 2-1 lead in the series.Published 04 Jan 2021, 22:32 IST