In recent times, there has been a lot of talk around Rohit Sharma and his Test spot. The Mumbai batsman has constantly been in and out of the side and has never really made it big in the longest format. He played a couple of Test matches in Australia. However, he warmed the benches in the two-match Test series against West Indies.
The Indian white-ball vice-captain has been scoring a lot of runs in the shorter formats. However, he still hasn’t proved himself in Test cricket. Hanuma Vihari was preferred over Rohit in the Caribbean. Hence, that raised a lot of debate.
KL Rahul has been very inconsistent over the last couple of years. Moreover, the opening combination is still unsettled. Thus, there have also been calls for Rohit Sharma to move up the order. However, there are other players in the side who have done well and are overshadowing Rohit in Test cricket. Here are three of them.
1. Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)
Before the Test series in the Caribbean started, Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari were competing for the No. 6 slot. It was more or less a direct shootout. India opted to go for Vihari and the Andhra batsman repaid the faith of the team management.
He scored 289 runs at an average of 96.33. Vihari came into bat in tricky situations and bailed India out of trouble multiple times throughout the two-match Test series. He scored one hundred and two fifties as he more or less sealed the No. 6 spot in the Test side.
In fact, Vihari played on two tough away tours in the last season as well. He made his debut at The Oval against England in the fifth Test. He scored a fighting half-century and showed great character as well. The 25-year-old played three Test matches in Australia as well. He couldn’t convert a couple of good starts on a difficult Perth track but looked solid. When he was asked to open in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, he might’ve scored just 8 but he blunted out the new ball. He scored 42 in the last Test at SCG.
Hence, Vihari has impressed early in his career. He has batted in some tricky and challenging conditions and has come out on top. Thus, he will surely be one of the frontline middle-order options going forward. Moreover, he has comfortably overshadowed Rohit Sharma in Test cricket.
2. Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Before Mayank Agarwal made his Test debut in Melbourne on Boxing Day last year, he had scored a plethora of runs in domestic cricket. For more than two years, he kept churning out runs across formats and knocked the selection door down. It was quite surprising that the selectors didn’t turn towards him much earlier despite his dream run.
However, Karnataka opener finally got his chance and made it count. He made his debut at the MCG last year and impressed on debut. In fact, his first three scores in Test cricket read 76, 42 and 77. Agarwal never looked overawed by the occasion and batted really well against a strong Australian bowling attack.
He continued his good form in the Caribbean as well. The 28-year-old did blow hot and cold but he was the only man to score a half-century in the top three from either side throughout the series. Hence, Agarwal has had a promising start to his Test career and looks set for a decent run.
3. Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)
Ahead of the Test series against West Indies, there were a lot of doubts over Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion. In fact, there were calls for Rohit Sharma to play ahead of Rahane. The Indian Test vice-captain had blown hot and cold over the last couple of years and hadn’t reached the three-figure mark since August 2017.
In fact, Rohit Sharma even played ahead of an out-of-form Rahane in the first couple of Test matches in South Africa. However, Rahane has answered his critics in style. He scored 271 runs in the Test series against West Indies and also got the monkey off his back as he got his 10th Test ton as well, which was his first in over two years. He looked at his fluent best and fought hard which helped India get out of tricky situations.
Moreover, Rahane has been critical in most of India’s away Test victories over the last few years. India rarely lose when Rahane scores big or gets a substantial score. Thus, his form has given India a massive boost and Rahane has also overshadowed Rohit Sharma and has shown that he is still India’s key batsman in the middle-order.
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