Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has backed India’s limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma to be a part of the playing XI for the opening Test against West Indies and feels that not picking the batsman will be “wrong”.
Speaking on his official Youtube channel, Akhtar said that since Rohit was a part of the squad for the two-match Test series against the Windies, it was important that he should also be given a chance in the XI to go out and grab his opportunity.
“I know Rohit has been given chances to play in the Test format earlier and he has not been able to grab on to the opportunity. But I believe he should be included in the team. He is a big match-winner, and not including him will be wrong. He is in good form and he should be given a chance right away,” the 44-year-old expressed.
“When you have selected him in the squad, leaving him out of the playing XI should not be an option. I believe he will showcase his talent in the longest format of the game, he will become a great player in the Test format as well,” Akhtar added.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly meanwhile, suggested that the team can try out Rohit in the opener’s slot in the longest format as well.
Rohit, 32, has cemented his place at the top of the batting order in the Twenty20 and 50-over formats and finished with most number of runs in the Cricket World Cup in England recently.
The only player in the world with three double hundreds in one-day internationals, Rohit bats in the middle order in the longest format but has never really flourished as a Test batsman.
“The major decision is whether they want to play Rohit or Rahane,” Ganguly, who played 113 Tests, wrote in a column published in Thursday’s Times of India newspaper.
“Rohit was in blistering form in the World Cup, but in Tests in South Africa and Australia, he was ‘on and off’. Rahane was not his usual self in Australia.
“My suggestion would be to let Rohit carry on his good form from the World Cup and settle in the opener’s slot while Rahane continues his good work of lending stability to the middle order,” Ganguly said.