Team India has been leading the ICC Test rankings for almost last three years, India is currently atop the ranking table in Test cricket, but there is still some room for improvement in the team. They have returned back home after a successful tour of West Indies where bowlers were up to the mark but the opening batsmen struggled throughout the tour.
The debate over the Test opener started with the bad form of KL Rahul, as he is finding it difficult to perform well in the longest format. After July 2018, in last 10 innings, he has managed to get only one 50-plus score with only 228 runs under his name at an average of 25, which brings his name under the scanner.
Although Rohit Sharma was in the squad after a successful stint in World Cup 2019, he didn’t play in any game against the West Indies during Tests, which led to a serious debate in Indian cricket. He had got support from veterans like Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kiran More and Adam Gilchrist for holding the position of the opener in Tests. Now, when the squad was announced for the Test series against South Africa, the name of Rohit was included as a specialist opening batsman.
But there is one former cricketer who diagress with this decision. Former wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia thinks that opening is in Test is quite different from doing the same in ODI. He reckons that batting at the top in the longest format needs better temperament, with the right mindset to be successful.
As per the quotes in Times of India, Mongia said, “Opening is a specialized job, like ‘keeping. He’s been opening in limited-overs cricket, but Test cricket requires a massive adjustment in mindset. Unless, of course, he decides to stick to what he does in limited-overs cricket – go for the ball. He must stick to his strengths, rather than change his game according to Test cricket. If he does that, it may affect his limited-overs game.”
According to him, the youngsters like Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran should be rewarded for their consistent performances in domestic cricket. They have scored around 800-1000 runs in a domestic season at an average between 50 to 60. Mongia reckons that it will be unfair and demotivating if they don’t get into the team at the right time.