After Rohit Sharma’s third century of the series against South Africa, India’s new batting coach Vikram Rathour believes the opener will also prove a game-changer on away tours.
Sharma hit an unbeaten 117 on the opening day of the third Test to lead the hosts to 224 for three when bad light forced early stumps in Ranchi.
The 32-year-old put on 185 runs with Ajinkya Rahane to rescue the hosts who were reduced to 39-3 in the morning session.
“I always believed he is too good a player not to be playing in every format. It was a good call to make him open,” Rathour said of Sharma. “With the amount of runs he has scored, he has settled the issue (of opening the batting) for the time being.
“Somebody of his experience and the kind of cricket he plays, if he starts coming good top of the order, it changes everything for the Indian team, even when you’re touring.”
India will travel to New Zealand for a full series next year including two Tests in February and March.
The elegant Mumbai batsman, who is playing his 30th Test since his debut in 2013, curbed his attacking instincts to get through a fiery morning spell from South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada.
He played patiently till there was something on offer in the pitch for the pacers and then launched an attack once the spinners came on. He reached his sixth Test hundred with his fourth six of the innings, much to the joy of the home crowd.
Rathour also said that Rohit didn’t have to make any changes to his technique after moving to the top of the order – and that he has got his game plans spot on.
“He is such an experienced player. I don’t think you need to change anything with his technique. The only adjustment I think he had to make was his gameplans,” said Rathour.”Once he’s set, he’s a phenomenal player, we all know that he can really punish you. So he just needed to make that mental adjustment to his gameplans. He has done that well.”
The 50-year-old Rathour, a former batsman who played six Tests for India, also applauded Rahane’s approach on a tough wicket. India’s Test vice-captain, hit 11 fours and one sixes during his unbeaten 135-ball stay at the wicket.
“Whenever he bats with this intent he looks really a good player. So today he showed that,” said Rathour.
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