Ever since Rohit Sharma started to open the batting in white-ball cricket, his career has taken off. Before 2013, his scores were frustrating. He simply couldn’t make it big at the international level for the first six years of his career. However, moving to the top of the order brought a new lease of life and changed the Mumbaikar’s career altogether. At the moment, he is one of the best white-ball openers going around in world cricket.
Despite Rohit’s white-ball success, he hasn’t made it big in Test cricket. He was supposed to make his Test debut back in 2010 but a freak injury moments before the game resulted in a three-and-a-half-year wait. He made his debut in November 2013 and has been in and around the Test team ever since. However, he’s never a constant in the playing XI.
However, with Rohit being in the form of his life at the moment, there are calls to move him up the order. Moreover, India have also struggled at the top in Test cricket. Hence, Rohit has himself said he’s ready for the challenge if he’s asked to open. However, here we look at three reasons why Rohit Sharma shouldn’t open in Test cricket.
1. Not a great Test record
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Ever since Rohit Sharma started to open the batting in white-ball cricket, his numbers are nearly unmatched. He’s scored a truckload of runs at the top of the order. However, Test cricket is a different kettle of fish and he doesn’t boast of a great record either.
Having made his debut in 2013, Rohit has played 27 Test matches so far and has amassed 1585 runs at an average of 39.62. However, his away record is pretty poor. He has played 18 games (33 innings) away from home and averages just 26.32. Moreover, he has scored just five half-centuries outside India.
Moreover, the 32-year-old batsman often throws his wickets away. Even on India’s tour to Australia last year, he did get a couple of decent starts but threw it away and it all came down to his shot selection. He tends to attack a little too early and hence, pays the price.
2. Vulnerability against the moving ball
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
It is no secret that Rohit Sharma has struggled against the moving ball for a large part of his career. Be it against the white-ball or the red one, Sharma has often struggled against the new ball which is moving around. With the pitches having something in it, the bowlers are always in the game.
Moreover, the red ball tends to do a lot more than the white one. The fields are different and batsmen can get away with certain mistakes made in the shorter formats but it’s not the case in Test cricket. His foot movement is also a touch tentative. In fact, he has been dismissed bowled or LBW 40% of the times in Test cricket.
Also, the Indian white-ball vice-captain doesn’t have a great record in the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries where the ball does quite a bit. He averages just 25.36 in those nations and has scored just three half-centuries in 24 innings.
Hence, Rohit Sharma might get found out on tours and India’s old problem with openers will never fade away.
3. Other deserving domestic cricketers waiting in the wings
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Cricket in the Indian domestic circuit is more or less flourishing. India seem to be building a nice bench strength as the ‘A’ team almost every time seems too powerful for their oppositions. Different players are standing up and delivering. Moreover, they are also doing well for the state sides. Hence, there are multiple players waiting in the wings to grab that opportunity.
Prithvi Shaw had a wonderful debut series. He scored 237 runs in a two-match Test series and announced himself in international cricket in style. However, injuries and other issues have kept him out of action. Hence, he is a strong candidate to regain a place which he never really lost.
Moreover, the likes of Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran are scoring loads of runs across all formats. Be it for India ‘A’ or their respective domestic sides, they have done really well. While Panchal has been churning out runs consistently for the last four years, Easwaran has done the same for the last couple of years. Thus, they should be next in line as far as the openers are concerned. Thus, it may be a bit unfair on them if Rohit Sharma gets to open the batting in the longest format as well.
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