The Indian Selection committee announced the Test squad for the home series against South Africa. It looks like they finally paid heed to the “vox populi” as KL Rahul was axed after inconsistent performances and Rohit Sharma was given a raise as an opener. After the selection of the squad, MSK Prasad, the chief selector of BCCI came unravelled, explaining the board’s desire to make proper use of the Hitman’s batting ability up in the order.
Rohit’s story in the limited-over format of the game wasn’t much different either. Despite being accorded a plethora of opportunities to fire, Rohit failed miserably in the middle-order. As a last resort to reap the benefits of the technical gargantuan, Rohit Sharma, Dhoni promoted him as an opener in ODI cricket during the 2013 Champions Trophy and the rest they say is history as he is ranked the number two in ODI cricket.
After repetitive failures by the Indian openers, the board had to make a call. With Murli Vijay now lingering on the fringes of an exit from the national squad, India needed a suitable partnership to show the dawn for the middle order to fire. With Rohit being propelled as an opener in Test Cricket, where he has been downplayed as a poor reader of the red ball, it will be an interesting battle between the fiery devils of South Africa bowling at a minimum 150kmph and the Hitman exhibiting his patience to weather the storm.
It is finally time for Rohit to validate his mettle in the longer format as an opener. He had a dream test debut by scoring a century in his very first test and then has had a fleeting tryst with good performances, where the troughs have been more frequent than the crests. So fans are hoping for a paradigm shift in Rohit’s fortunes with this welcome change. Former Indian batting coach has also echoed this sentiment, citing that patience is the key to deliver in the long format of the game.
“The key to his success will be if he maintains his individual style of play. He has to maintain his individuality. At the moment, there is no place in the settled middle order in the test team. The opening will be a new challenge for him since he has rarely done it in the longer formats,” Bangar said in an exclusive interview with EspnCricinfo.
Bangar believes that Rohit will be facing the hard-ball which will aid his style of spraying the ball around the park with consummate ease. Bangar also added that if Rohit can give a proper start to the innings, India will also be eyeing to chase down astronomical targets in the second innings of the game.
“He will also not have to wait for his turn to bat, which will save his mental energy. If he succeeds, his style of play will be extremely helpful to the team. It might result in being able to successfully chase down targets that we haven’t achieved in the past, like in Cape Town and Edgbaston,” Bangar said.
Well, it will be interesting to see whether now things work out according to plan or not, as the Indian team gets set to face off another challenge. The players need to step up and start performing, as the selectors are now watching every move, ahead of the upcoming T-20 World Cup next year.
Only time will tell which players will be in the squad and who will not be able to make the final cut. Let’s hope for the best.