Anshuman Gaekwad opines that vice-captain Rohit Sharma should bat at number five for the remaining Test matches against Australia. The former selector also stated that Sharma is a matchwinner at any position. However, he wants him to bat behind skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the middle-order.
The Mumbaikar has replaced Cheteshwar Pujara as Ajinkya Rahane's deputy in the Test series. On the other end, T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur are also added to the Indian squad for the final two Tests.
Rohit Sharma will boost the team's batting line-up when he plays his first match in the on-going series. However, his inclusion in the playing XI will have to come at the cost of either Hanuma Vihari or Mayank Agarwal. Both Vihari and Agarwal have played some crucial knocks for Team India. But their performance in the on-going Test series has been negligible.
Rohit Sharma has six international Test centuries so far. He has scored three each as an opener and as a number six batsman. His hundreds as an opening batsman came just a year ago during a single series against South Africa at home. Gaekwad did not exclude Rohit's opening prospects entirely either. He further said that it would all depend on the Indian team management's decision.
Can Rohit Sharma fill the cracks in India's batting order?
Rohit has featured in only 32 Tests since making his debut in 2013. Rohit Sharma currently averages 31 in Australia from 10 innings. The Mumbai Indian skipper also has two fifties Down Under.
Despite grading the series at Adelaide, the men in blue are yet to settle on an ideal opening partnership in the series. Regardless of his position, Sharma's back-foot dominated technique and his tendency to score huge runs bode well for the Indian side.
The vice-captain will also find himself in favourable batting conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The 33-year-old also has little high-intensity match practice to back him in the upcoming matches.
However, just like the first the test in Adelaide, the Australian pace-trio of Cummins, Starc and Josh Hazelwood makes it a challenging ball game for men in blue. If Rohit can stand tall against all odds and perform at his best, the hosts will find it difficult to stop India from taking a 2-1 lead in the series. The 3rd Test match between India and Australia will start on January 7.