Chief selector MSK Prasad said Rohit Sharma will get a chance as a Test opener in the home series against South Africa. India dropped KL Rahul and decided to give the chance to Rohit, who usually plays in the middle-order in Tests.
“Yes, we are definitely looking (at Rohit) as an opener, and we want to give him an opportunity,” Prasad said in New Delhi. “He is keen, and all of us in the selection committee are keen too. We want to push him, and give him some opportunities up the order, and see where he stands, and then we will take a call. He will get a fair run.”
“He has been opening in white-ball cricket for more than a decade. We feel he has the capability to bat up the order, we have seen that in white-ball cricket, and if he can do that in red-ball cricket, then nothing like it. We have a lot of practice matches coming up, which will be a boost to this side,” he added.
Rahul’s exclusion gave Shubman Gill his maiden call-up.
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“He has done well both as an opener and in the middle order, so he can be a back-up for both the slots,” Prasad said. “That’s the reason when KL was dropped out, we had given him the opportunity, but as he keeps playing he’ll get more opportunities because he’s a player for all three formats.”
“To tell you the truth, I think he’s an exceptional talent. We backed him, but his form has definitely dipped in red-ball cricket. With Shikhar not there, Murali Vijay has gone out, so you need to stick with one opener. You just can’t keep changing both the openers in the side,” MSK Prasad said.
“Probably with the seniors exited, KL has got more opportunities but unfortunately he was not delivering consistently, and only delivering in patches. And even during those patches you could see that brilliance in him, so that gives you confidence ‘Come on, let’s back him.’ When he’s on song, he’s a treat to watch,” he shared.
“Let me give you the example of VVS Laxman. When he was dropped once from the side, he went to the domestic side, scored 1400 runs and never looked back. Whoever we give an opportunity now, we will give them a fair run. We have created a bench-strength succession chart in each department in all formats,” he concluded.