India limited-overs opener Rohit Sharma is all set to open in the Test in the upcoming home Tests against South Africa. This is going to be an opportunity for him to cement his place as an opener in the longer format of the game as well as establish himself in the format. Being a dangerous opener of limited-overs cricket, he never left his mark in Tests. However, head coach Ravi Shastri wants to give him time at the top of the order.
“I told Rohit, way back in 2015-16, to start opening for Mumbai. Always felt he had the X-factor. But it is always difficult, not easy for a No. 5 or 6 to do it. But it is just a mind thing, if he gets over it, he is going to be a match-winner there as well, and we are going to give him time. We are not going to push him,” Shastri said in a recent interview with Hindustan Times.
“The main reason why I told him in 2015 because I was speaking from my experience. There are a lot of players who should have opened for India, just to eliminate a batsman, but very few had the balls. Sometimes in the subcontinent you just need five batsmen. That was my opportunity, that’s how I got to open the innings,” he added.
Shastri also recalled the conversation he had with Virender Sehwag ahead of the batsman was pushed to the open the innings in Tests, and the rest is history.
“I had met him at a team get-together on the West Indies tour (for ODIs in 2001-02) when there was talk of asking him to open (in Tests), and I had a chat of 15 minutes where I told him to ‘go for it because that could be your best position’. The rest is history, he made it his own. I told him opening is just a mind game. (A month later, India toured England and Sehwag opened in the Tests),” he concluded.