Rohit replaces KL Rahul at the top of the order with the latter being dropped from the 15-man squad after his underwhelming performance in the West Indies.
“He is keen, and all of us in the selection committee are keen too,” India’s chief selector MSK Prasad said on Rohit’s promotion up the order. “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. [Like other openers] he will get a fair run.”
But is using Rohit as an opener a good move for the Indian team? The 32-year-old, who is a prolific run-scorer in white-ball cricket, has played 27 Tests for India since making his international debut in the longest format in 2013. In none of those matches, though, did he open the batting.
The other big takeaway from India’s squad announcement on Thursday was Shubman Gill’s inclusion for the first time in Tests. The 20-year-old has had a strong run for the India A team and has a first-class average of 74.84, batting at the top of the order.
Would it have made more sense to include Shubman Gill as an opener, instead of having him warm the bench as a middle-order alternative?
There are also the likes of Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran who have been consistent performers as openers in domestic cricket. Would it have been fair to give them an opportunity?
Rohit, of course, has bagged this role because of his stellar run as an opener in One-Day International cricket over the past few years. Perhaps, the selectors felt he’s too good a player to be left out, with Hanuma Vihari’s fine form leaving no spot in the middle order.
But with a Test series in New Zealand lined up for early next year, a place where Indian batsmen have struggled traditionally, is Rohit a good long-term solution for the opener’s role?
What do you think, have the selectors made the right call by elevating Rohit to the position of Test opener?
The Mumbaikar came into his own as a cricketer when he was pushed to the top of the order in ODIs in 2013, will he be able to replicate that success in the longest format?
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