India chief selector MSK Prasad has said that this is might be the time for Rohit Sharma to open in the longer format of the game as well after KL Rahul‘s poor form in Test cricket. Rohit Sharma is considered as one of the most dangerous opening batsmen in the limited-overs. He has 3 ODI double centuries and 4 T20I hundreds but has been struggling to cement his berth in the Test team and Hanuma Vihari was chosen ahead of him in the recently concluded Test series against the Windies.
While Vihari did the justice with his selection in the squad, Rohit Sharma too in the limited-overs game. On the other hand, KL Rahul has failed miserably while opening the innings for India. Before their next series against South Africa, there will be a question if the selectors will think Rohit Sharma as an opener in Tests in place of Rahul.
However, the squad is yet to be announced but former players like Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Gautam Gambhir said that Rohit should be given a chance in the opening. Although, National selectors have not rejected the proposal yet.
“As selection committee we haven’t met after the conclusion of the West Indies tour. We will definitely take this (Rohit as opener) point into consideration when we all meet and discuss about it,” said MSK Prasad, the chairman of the national selection committee to India Today in an exclusive interview.
“KL (Rahul) is definitely a great talent. Of course, he is going through a bit tough time in Test cricket. We are definitely concerned about his form. He needs to spend more time on the wicket and regain his touch and form,” he added.
Along with the opening slot, there are changes in the bowling department as well. Right now India preferred wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav over R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. However, Jadeja has shown tremendous improvement in his all-rounder performance and was selected in the playing XI in the series against Windies.
On the other hand, young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar’s inclusion made Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav out of the squads from the shorter format. However, the team management has been trying youngster to build a solid team for the upcoming ICC World Cup.
“In order to bring variety in the spin bowling department, we have been trying youngsters keeping in view of the T20 World Cup in Australia. Chahal and Kuldeep have been outstanding performers in the shorter formats in the last two years. They are definitely ahead in the race now. It’s just that we are trying few other options now,” said the chairman.
Although the number 4 position is still a problem for India, Prasad talked about the positive things from the last tour.
“In shorter formats, we have seen Shreyas Iyer emerging as a matured batsman who can play to the situations and demands of the team and deliver accordingly. Similarly, we have seen (Navdeep) Saini, Krunal (Pandya), Washington (Sundar) progressing well in shorter formats,” he said.
“In the longer format we have seen solid performances from young Vihari. He was clearly the stand out performer in this series apart from Bumrah, who was outstanding with the ball. I am also very happy with the form of Ajinkya Rahane because he is very crucial for the success of Indian team in this format,” he further added.
The win in the last Test against the West Indies made Virat Kohli as India’s most successful Test captain with 28 wins.
“I am extremely happy that Virat is being hailed as the most successful Test captain in Indian history. He has been improving as captain with every passing game. I feel he has so much to offer as captain in times to come. He is still young and he has a long journey ahead as captain in this format (Test). He has a wonderful mix of youth and experienced players in the side to lead and I wish that he should plan well and lead this team and win the World Test Championship,” Prasad concluded.