Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir on Thursday backed Rohit Sharma as an opener in the Test format, and described him as the “best batsmen in the world”. Sharma, who was not included in the playing XI in the Test series against West Indies earlier this year, found a new lease on his red-ball career, after he went on to smash tons in both the innings in the first Test against South Africa, in his new role as an opener. In his column on Times of India, the cricketer-turned-politician Gambhir said he was impressed with Rohit’s performance.
“On a different note, whoever advised Rohit Sharma to play his natural game in Test matches was my man of the match. It is easy to get Rohit to get into a defensive mode just because it is Test cricket. But I am glad Rohit didn’t follow stereotypes and instead brought out the game that he knows best,” he wrote.
Gambhir further went on to describe Rohit as the “most dangerous batsmen” in modern-day cricket. “I have no apprehensions in declaring him as the most dangerous and the best batsman in the world today,” he said.
The 37-year-old went on to compare Rohit with former India opener Virender Sehwag. “Like Virender Sehwag, Rohit too can set up and chase Test wins for India. Just handle him with care and lots of love,” he added.
Rohit came out to open the innings for India in the 2nd Test in Pune against South Africa, but failed to get going. After struggling against South Africa seamers Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander. After scoring just 14 runs, he edged a delivery outside off stumps from Rabada to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.
Before the start of the match, India captain Virat Kohli had said that Rohit should be given space to breathe. “If a guy like him at the top of the order plays the way he does, we are going to be in situations to go for victory in most of the Test matches. So we are all very happy for him. It’s time to let Rohit Sharma enjoy his batting in red-ball cricket,” he said at the pre-match press conference in Pune on Wednesday.