The cricket experts and fans have been discussing this fact for a while now that after being such a successful opener in the limited-overs format, why has India not tried Rohit Sharma at the top of the order in Test cricket. After the then India ODI captain MS Dhoni took the decision of promoting Rohit as an opener in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, his career suddenly took a complete turnover. Since then, Rohit has scored tons of runs in ODIs and T20Is and has won many matches for India single-handedly.
5 World Cup 2019 Centuries turned Rohit’s fortunes
Rohit Sharma is the only cricketer to rack up three double hundreds in ODI cricket and has also notched up the most (4) centuries in the T20I format. However, he failed to do the similar damage in his stop-start Test career. After he achieved the world record of smashing 5 hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup, it was pretty clear that it would be almost impossible to keep a player of Rohit’s caliber out from the Indian team from any format.
He was included in the Indian squad for the two-match Test series in West Indies but he failed to find a place in the playing XI. Hanuma Vihari was slotted at the number six position in the Indian batting line-up during the Test matches against Windies and he sealed his spot by compiling a remarkable maiden hundred and one 90+ score. Vihari’s arrival and KL Rahul’s failure meant that Rohit could only find a place in the playing XI as an opener.
The national selectors and the team management then took the big decision and picked Rohit Sharma as an opener for the three-match home Test series against South Africa. In the first Test match in Vizag, Rohit started patiently along with fellow opener Mayank Agarwal to counter the quality opening spells of the South African fast bowlers. However, after getting settled down, he showed off his true colors and started to take on the Proteas bowlers.
Rohit and Mayank stitched a sensational opening partnership of 317 runs in their first-ever Test match as an opening combination. Rohit went on to score an exceptional knock of 176 runs in the first innings that included of 23 fours and 6 sixes. In the second innings, India needed someone to score runs at a quick pace and Rohit once again raised his hand up and compiled an amazing innings of 127 runs off 149 balls.
With these two twin tons in the first Test match against South Africa, Rohit had already defied all the odds and shut his critics down. However, everyone was unaware of what was coming up in the store. After trailing 2-0 in the three-match Test series, South African bowlers finally showed up in the opening session of the third and final Test match as they rattled India at 39 for 3.
The duo comprising of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane then joint hands to bail their team out of the troublesome situation. The Mumbai batting pair added a magnificent 267 runs for the fourth wicket partnership. Rohit composed his maiden double hundred in the longest format of the game. He racked up a stupendous innings of 212 runs that consisted of 28 fours and 6 sixes.
Rohit Sharma becomes India’s Sir Don Bradman
Before the start of the series, Rohit had scored 3 Test centuries and now he has managed to notch up three hundred in a single series including a maiden double hundred. He also broke many more records as he became the first Indian opener to register hundreds in all the three formats. Rohit Sharma surpassed Sir Don Bradman’s 71-year old world record home average of 98.22 as he now averages a mindboggling 99.84 in India.
Rohit smashed a total of 13 sixes combined in both the innings of the first Test match which is the most by a player in the Test cricket history. After smashing an excellent double hundred in the Ranchi Test match, the opener became the first Indian to complete his double century by hitting a six. This record-breaking run in his first-ever series as Test opener will surely give Rohit the confidence to perform in the same brilliant manner in the overseas conditions as that remains to be the greatest challenge for him.