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‘He’s a world class player,’ Dilip Vengsarkar bats for new opener for India in Tests

With the red ball replacing the white one and bright white uniforms – albeit with numbers on the rear side – taking over from coloured clothing, The focus has shifted from India’s No. 4 to the opening pair. KL Rahul’s below-par performance in the recently-concluded two-match Test series in the West Indies and the unavailability of Prithvi Shaw due to a doping ban has forced the selectors to look for other options for India’s Test opener. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has indicated that limited overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma can be an option and that thought has now received backing from Dilip Vengsarkar, who is a former chairman of selectors himself.

Terming Rohit a world class player, Vengsarkar said he only needs a platform to perform.

“To make him bat in the opening position or No. 3 or 4 doesn’t really make much of a difference. It is just about the mental state. It is a good thing that he will be opening; he will get a dedicated slot to bat in. He is a world-class player and has proved it. Give him a platform, and he will perform. He delivered when the whole world was watching during his innings [of 140] against Pakistan in the World Cup. He is a big-match player, so I am sure he will succeed,” Vengsarkar told Mid-day.

Vengsarkar also expressed his disappointment that Rohit was not given a game in the two-match series against West Indies. “Leaving a player like Rohit out of the playing XI was very surprising. He is a world-class player. Would the team management have dropped him if we were playing a strong team like England or Australia? “After scoring five centuries in the World Cup and being in such great form, it was unfair to leave him out of the playing XI. We don’t know why he was dropped,” said the former India batsman.

The Indian selectors meanwhile, will meet in Mumbai on Thursday to select India’s Test squad for the three-match series against South Africa.

South Africa’s tour of India starts with the three-match T20I series September 15 at Dharamsala

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