Cricket

India vs West Indies: Sourav Ganguly backs Rohit Sharma to open in Antigua Test, Ajinkya Rahane to lend stability in middle order

  • Reuters
  • August 22nd, 2019
  • 12:36:42 IST

Mumbai: India must get limited-overs opener Rohit Sharma to serve the role in Test cricket too, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said as the team ponder on their combination for Thursday’s first Test against West Indies in Antigua.

Rohit, 32, has cemented his place at the top of the batting order in the Twenty20 and 50-over formats and finished with most number of runs in the World Cup in England recently.

File image of Sourav Ganguly. AFP

File image of Sourav Ganguly. AFP

The only player in the world with three double hundreds in one-day internationals, Rohit bats in the middle order in the longest format but has never really flourished as a Test batsman.

He was dropped following a poor return in South Africa in early 2018 when he scored 78 runs in four innings. He played two Tests in Australia at the end of the year, missing one with injury and the other due to the birth of his child.

India are without regular opener Prithvi Shaw, currently serving a doping ban, while Mayank Agarwal, who has played just two Tests, is the regular opening batsman in the squad alongside KL Rahul.

Spin-bowling all-rounder Hanuma Vihari opened in the Melbourne Test against Australia last year while Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane as seen as Rohit’s competition for a middle order berth.

The two Tests in Caribbean, which also marks the beginning of the World Test Championship for both sides, will present another opportunity for Rohit to try and cement his spot and Ganguly believes it should be at the top of the order.

“... the major decision is whether they want to play Rohit or Rahane,” Ganguly, who played 113 Tests, wrote in a column published in Thursday’s Times of India newspaper.

“Rohit was in blistering form in the World Cup, but in Tests in South Africa and Australia, he was ‘on and off’. Rahane was not his usual self in Australia.

“My suggestion would be to let Rohit carry on his good form from the World Cup and settle in the opener’s slot while Rahane continues his good work of lending stability to the middle order.”

India will also have to choose between experienced wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, who was recalled after being out injured for more than a year, and the young Rishabh Pant for the wicket-keeper’s role.

Saha’s replacement Pant has used his chances well and hit a century in an Oval Test last year while also smashing an unbeaten 159 against Australia in Sydney in January.

“After his impressive showing in Test cricket in Australia and England, Rishabh Pant should be starting ahead of Wriddhiman,” added Ganguly.

Updated Date: August 22, 2019 12:36:42 IST

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

T20 World Cup 2021: Ajinkya Rahane urges India to back Hardik Pandya, says Rishabh Pant a 'game changer'
First Cricket News

T20 World Cup 2021: Ajinkya Rahane urges India to back Hardik Pandya, says Rishabh Pant a 'game changer'

There has been a lot of debate regarding Pandya's inclusion in the squad as he did not bowl in the recently-concluded IPL

'Just what the Doctor ordered': Twitter reacts to news that Rahul Dravid could be next India head coach
First Cricket News

'Just what the Doctor ordered': Twitter reacts to news that Rahul Dravid could be next India head coach

Dravid will be appointed as head coach of the Indian men's cricket team post the 2021 T20 World Cup for a period of two years, as per media reports.

T20 World Cup 2021: Eoin Morgan confident England have come a long way since agonising defeat to West Indies in 2016 final
First Cricket News

T20 World Cup 2021: Eoin Morgan confident England have come a long way since agonising defeat to West Indies in 2016 final

A whirlwind knock from Carlos Brathwaite helped West Indies beat England by four wickets in the 2016 World T20 final but Eoin Morgan's side have been a consistent bunch ever since, going on to win the 2019 ODI World Cup.