India vs South Africa: Sunil Gavaskar confident of Rohit Sharma succeeding as Test opener

Gavaskar wants Rohit to tighten up his defense in order to taste success in Test cricket.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Rohit Sharma’s Test career received another lease of life when he was picked in the Indian squad for the three-match series against South Africa at home. He was also part of the West Indies tour for the two-match Tests there but didn’t get to play a game, given that Hanuma Vihari was preferred at the no.6 spot in the playing eleven.

With Vihari top-scoring for India in the series with a maiden century and two half-centuries, many felt that the doors of Test cricket were closed on Rohit, who has never had a long run in the five-day format. However, failure of KL Rahul at the top of the order came as a savior for the Mumbai batsman, who will now be tried as an opener in red-ball cricket as well. His record in white-ball cricket at the top is phenomenal and many expect him to do well in Tests as well.


Rohit needs to tighten his defense to succeed as an opener, says Gavaskar

However, many detractors of Rohit Sharma point out his inherent flaws in technique, which has troubled him in ODIs as well. He is vulnerable against the moving ball upfront and has gotten out cheaply edging the ball to the keeper or slips. Multiply that movement by hundred in Tests and he will be facing the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi who know how to swing the brand-new red cherry and it could mean trouble for Rohit. However, former opener Sunil Gavaskar is optimistic of Rohit’s chances.

“Look we know there is a difference between red and white ball. The white ball can stop swinging in five overs. With the kind of stitches on the red leather, you may find it swinging even after the 35 to 40 over the mark. So, facing up against swing is a different matter and he does struggle a bit against the incoming ball. Having said that, if his shot selection is good, he will be able to score in test cricket too,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by Times Now.

He further compared him to Virender Sehwag and said, “When we talk about Rohit Sharma, he doesn’t have the watertight defense like Virender Sehwag. But he perhaps has more shots than Sehwag. Sehwag would not hit the ball so much on the side. Rohit can use the pull and hook very well. So Rohit does have more attacking shots. If he can tighten up his defense against the good balls, he can also be successful like Sehwag in Test cricket.”

The first Test of the three-match series will begin on October 2 at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, in Visakhapatnam.

Watch: All-time right-handers ODI XI