On October 2, 2019, Rohit Sharma opened the batting in Test cricket for the first time. He scored a century. That was against South Africa in Visakhapatnam. It did not end there as he added one more hundred in the second innings, and India won the match by 203 runs.
Two Tests later, against the same opposition, in Ranchi, Rohit hit 212. In five Tests as an opener, the Mumbai right-hander averages 92.66 with three hundreds.
Despite his success in his new role, Rohit said he is ready to bat anywhere against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series starting next month in Adelaide.
“I will tell you the same thing that I have told everyone all this while. I will be happy to bat wherever the team wants me to but I don’t know if they would change my role as an opener,” Rohit, who is currently doing fitness training at Bengaluru’s National Cricket Academy (NCA), told PTI.
The 33-year-old was injured during IPL 2020 in the UAE, and was not named in the Test squad initially but added later. He is set to fly to Australia after completing his strength and conditioning work at NCA.
With captain Virat Kohli set to leave for India after the first Test for the birth of his first child, Rohit said the team management will figure out the options in the absence of the skipper.
“I am sure the guys already in Australia must have figured out what the options are when Virat leaves and who the guys are who will open the innings,” Rohit said. “Once I reach there, I will probably have a clearer idea of what’s going to happen. I will be okay to bat wherever they want.”
Rohit said bounce won’t be a big factor in Australian conditions. “We talk about bounce but except for Perth, over the past few years, the other grounds (Adelaide, MCG, SCG), I don’t think have that much bounce.”
Rohit, who made his Test debut in 2013, said he may have to shun cut and pull shots and concentrate on playing in the “V”.
“Nowadays, especially while opening the batting, I will have to think about not playing the cut or pull shots and focus on playing in the ‘V’ and as straight as possible,” Rohit, who has so far played 32 Tests, said.
“With new ball, whoever bowls, whether it’s (Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins or (Josh) Hazlewood, they will obviously pitch it up, swing the ball and the bouncer would be used sparingly.
“They would try to ensure with the new ball that they would get some movement off the air or off the pitch. With the new ball, everybody in the world loves to bowl up and send down one odd bouncer here and there. So majority of the deliveries will be up and towards the bat and not short,” he opined.
India’s tour of Australia begins on November 27 with the first ODI. The three 50-over contests will be followed by three T20Is, and four Tests, from December 17. During their last tour, India won a Test series on Australia soil for the first time ever, ending a 71-year wait.