Ind vs SA: 2nd Test preview: Rohit Sharma's in a great space

Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 07:33 IST | Agencies | Pune

Overwhelmed by his twin tons in Vizag, India skipper Virat Kohli wants Mumbai batsman to enjoy his new opening role as hosts aim to seal Test series v SA in Pune

Rohit Sharma during a net session on the eve of the second Test v South Africa in Pune yesterday. Pic/AFP
Rohit Sharma during a net session on the eve of the second Test v South Africa in Pune yesterday. Pic/AFP

Pune: India captain Virat Kohli feels it's time to let Rohit Sharma enjoy his batting at the top of the order and if he does that, India will be in winning situations more often than not in Test cricket. When he was asked whether Rohit Sharma has "fulfilled" his expectations as an opener, Kohli said in jest: "It's overflowing and just not filled."

Kohli then, urged the media to stop dissecting Rohit the opener. "Come on, give the guy a break now. He's done well, let him enjoy his batting at the top of the order. Let him just have fun like he does in white-ball cricket. Stop focussing on what Rohit is going to do. He's in great space," Kohli said on the eve of the second Test against South Africa at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium yesterday.

Rohit marked his foray in Test match opening with twin hundreds in the first Test against the Proteas, shattering many records as India registered a comprehensive 203-run victory in Visakhapatnam. Since being promoted to the opening slot in limited overs cricket in 2013, the Mumbai batsman has established himself as one of the best players in the format but has never quite managed to replicate that success in Tests as a middle-order batsman.

However, in his debut Test as opener in Visakhapatnam, he went on to score 176 in the first innings and followed it up with 127 in the second innings to play a crucial role in India's win. Following his stellar opening debut, he also jumped a whopping 36 places to achieve his career-best ranking of 17.

'Kuldeep understands'

Kohli also spoke on why chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav has not been picked in the playing XI despite scalping five wickets in the last Test that he played [against Australia at Sydney]. "No one is self-centred and everyone is thinking about what he can do for the team. It's the same about Kuldeep. He understands that in India, [Ravichandran] Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja will be our first choices because they give us so much more with the bat as well.

"A lot has been spoken and said about the system that we have followed over the last two years. The only thing that matters to us is wanting to win as many games as we can and we have been able to do that," said Kohli. "We have the least losing percentage in the last three years and there is a good reason for that. We obviously are flexible but as I said, it can't be possible if the team doesn't buy into it," said Kohli, who will lead India for the 50th time in Test cricket today.

Praise for Shami

Heaping praise on Mohammed Shami, Kohli said: "I think on the pitches we play, I don't see anyone with so much seam movement apart from him [Shami]. He can totally change the complexion of a match."

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