Former West Indies great Brian Lara all praise for Rohit Sharma ahead of Ranchi Test vs South Africa
Rohit Sharma may not have had the desired success in Test cricket, so far, but he still remains in the scheme of things for the national side. Trying his hand as an opener in the ongoing India-South Africa series, the right-hander already has two tons in his kitty in the new role. Ahead of the Ranchi Test versus South Africa in Ranchi, from October 19 (Saturday), former West Indies great and skipper Brian Lara was all praise for Rohit as a player across formats.
With words of encouragement coming from someone of Lara's stature, the 32-year-old Rohit will be eager to get going in the final Test and make a bigger statement against hapless Proteas line-up. During the launch Road Safety World Series - a tournament where he will be seen leading the West indies legends side, Lara told PTI, "I think that Rohit is an awesome player in all formats of the game. Obviously, in the limited-overs game, he's been very successful. I don't see any reason why he should not be in Test cricket. It seems that he has the passion to play and wants to prove himself on that stage (Test cricket) as well. "To exclude a player like that (from the Test team) will be very difficult, with the talent that I see. So, hopefully, he will be successful. He is a gifted batsman," stated the 50-year-old.
After years of struggle in the middle-order, Rohit was promoted up the order ahead of the home series versus South Africa. In his first outing as an opener, he became the first batsman to score consecutive tons in a Test. While he missed out in the second and penultimate Test in Pune, the right-hander will look to make amends in the dead rubber in Ranchi, with the series already in India's kitty (2-0).
Lara also added on India's pace attack and drew parallel with West Indies' elite pace batch of 1970s and 1980s. Given that the trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami accounted for a total of 142 wickets in the last calendar year, they have been instrumental in India's No. 1 ranking in Test cricket. It is largely due to them that Virat Kohli and Co. are also at the top in the ICC Test Championship with 200 points, a healthy lead of 140 over second-ranked New Zealand.
The third and final Test between India and South Africa commences from Saturday in Ranchi.