Why Rohit Sharma should open the batting for India in the Test series Down Under
Rohit Sharma is currently enjoying the form of his life in white-ball cricket, turning everything he touches to gold. Sharma along with Kohli guided India to an eight-wicket win over the inexperienced Carribean side in the first ODI at Guwahati. With this, Team India leads the five-match series 1-0. The Hitman is going through a purple patch in limited overs cricket, achieving milestones after milestones and breaking records after records.
With 152 not out in the first match, Sharma has become the only player to hit six scores of 150-plus in the ODI format surpassing Tendulkar and Warner, who have five each. Sharma, who captained India in the recently concluded Asia Cup, used his leadership qualities in an efficient way, guiding India to a record seventh Asia Cup title.
Based on Sharma's current form, he should be given an opportunity to carry his white-ball cricket luck in red-ball cricket in the series against Australia starting in November. India is facing issues in finding a good opening pair in Test matches for the past one year or so, with every opener tried by the team management except Prithvi Shaw failing to provide India with a decent start.
India has tried every opener available but none of them have done justice to the opportunity provided to them. Rahul, Dhawan, and Vijay have failed to provide India with a solid start in Test matches in the recent past which is why there is a need to try another opener, who along with Shaw, could provide a decent start.
Rohit Sharma, thus, can be considered as an option to fill in the shoes of an opener in the series Down Under. Sharma, who last played a Test match at the start of the year against South Africa, and he can be a game changer with the form he is in. Also, bouncy tracks of Australia suits his style of batting who likes the ball to come on to the bat. Sharma, who played most of his Test cricket as a middle-order batsman, should be promoted up the order in the opening slot where he can play his natural game without much pressure.
The opening slot is most suited for him as he has been playing white-ball cricket as an opener and is doing exceptionally well there. Once he gets settled he can play the best of the bowling attacks with ease which can work in his favor and of course the team's favor. Sharma has a decent average of 40 in Test cricket which includes three centuries and nine half-centuries. He can also be a useful part-time bowler with his slow off spinners.
Sharma's ODI stats in Australia has been really impressive, scoring at an average of 52 approximately which shows that he has the potential to do well in fast bouncy tracks. His Test record in Australia is not that impressive and this may be because he was never tried as an opener there. With the current issues in the opening slot, Sharma should be given an opportunity to prove his worth, where he has enjoyed most of his limited overs cricket success.
He has all the shots in his kitty, which includes his favorite pull shot, which can be very handy on bouncy wickets. Sharma has shown in domestic circuit that he has the temperament to play the longer format of cricket. He should work on his poor shot selection which had been a major reason in all his dismissals in the longer format. He tends to lose his patience and plays an expensive shot which results in his dismissal.
Sharma should learn that patience is the key to success in Test matches. Team India should take advantage of the current form of the Indian Vice Captain in limited overs cricket and must include him as an opener for the series against Australia.