'You cannot keep a player like Rohit Sharma out of Test side,' says Zaheer Khan

Rohit has been included in the Test squad after Vihari has successfully sealed the No.6 spot due to his impressive show in the Caribbean.

Update: 2019-09-24 07:21 GMT
Former players, including Yuvraj Singh, praised the team management's decision to use Rohit Sharma at the top and said he should be given a long run. (Photo: AFP)

Mumbai: Former India pacer Zaheer Khan has backed the team management's move of assigning the opener's role to Rohit Sharma. Sharma has been picked in the squad to open the innings in the forthcoming three-match Test series against South Africa.

Rohit Sharma has been included in the Test squad after Hanuma Vihari has successfully sealed the No.6 spot due to his impressive show in the Caribbean. Rohit has evolved as one of the finest players of the limited-overs format and the team management will be expecting a similar performance from him with the white-ball cricket too.

“It’s good if he opens. I think he (Rohit) will feel comfortable as well because he already opens in white-ball cricket,” Zaheer said in an interview with Indian Express.

“Virender Sehwag had also said that the best thing that happened to him was opening in Test cricket after opening in ODIs. The rhythm is set for him because he has been opening for a long time. He is in a zone now. What happens is, when you bat at four or five positions, a batsman has to wait. That can upset a batsman’s rhythm. The comfort zone is the key.”

Khan also highlighted the significance of Rohit in the Test side by stating that it is difficult to keep him out of the red-ball cricket.

“Time will only tell (whether the team will be patient with Rohit Sharma) but the decision which has been taken now is on the lines that you can’t keep a player like Rohit out of the team,” said Zaheer.

“It’s an opportunity for Rohit and also for the team to have such an in-form player. It also needs to be seen that in the coming home series will India go with four bowlers or five bowlers? In the West Indies, three fast bowlers and one spinner played. In India, two spinners will play, so will the team go for only two seamers? Or will the team go with five bowlers.”

Zaheer also expressed his views about the jeopardy revolving around Rishabh Pant's future in the Indian team. The young wicket-keeper batsman has not been successful yet to cement his spot in the side.

"He is a great talent who needs to be nurtured in the right way. It’s the responsibility of team management to have an environment where he can flourish as a player. He has shown what kind of ability he has; he is a match-winner. We have to create a platform to make him express his talent rather than burden him by expectations," said Zaheer.


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