Rohit Sharma as an opener in Test cricket? 'Hitman' departs for duck in warm-up game against South Africa
During the recently concluded India’s tour of West Indies, there were many fans and pundits who called for Rohit Sharma to be deployed as the Test opener following KL Rahul’s repeated failures up top. The Indian selectors answered the calls by dropping Rahul for the three-match series against South Africa and decided to give Rohit a go as an opener in the longest format of the game. But it looks like Rohit’s problems against the new ball haven’t gone away. Rohit, who is captaining Board President XI in the warm-up match against South Africa at the Dr PVG Raju ACA Sports Complex in Vizianagaram, continued his troubles against the new ball as he was dismissed for a two-ball duck by South Africa seamer Vernon Philander.
Rohit was sent to open the innings alongside regular opener Mayank Agarwal. While Agarwal saw off the first over of the innings by Kagiso Rabada by taking a couple of runs, Rohit was dismissed in the second ball of the second over after he was caught by wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen.
Correction:— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) September 28, 2019
Wicket! Big Vern strikes in his first over with a big wicket! Rohit Sharma is caught by the keeper Klaasen & departs for a duck. IND Inv XI 2/1 (0,5 ovs). #ProteasWarmUppic.twitter.com/Dk2qTamHBj
With the likes of Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane cementing their spots in the Indian middle-order courtesy their scintillating performances against the Windies, Rohit had no option but to open the innings in the longest format of the game – something he has never done in his career in the international circuit. Rohit has opened the innings for Mumbai in the domestic circuit for a couple of times but it has come when the team was chasing an outrageous target on the last day of the match.
However, it looks like Rohit – with all his experience as an opener in white-ball cricket – is still not ready to open the innings in Test cricket. The 32-year-old, in all likelihood, will open the innings with Agarwal in the three-match Test series against the Proteas but it won’t be a surprise if he struggles against the likes of Rabada, Philander and Lungi Ngidi.
Rohit will next be in action when India take to the field at the Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam for the opening Test on October 2 (Wednesday).