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Rohit Sharma or Shubman Gill: Who should open the innings in upcoming test series against South Africa?

On one hand is India's one of the best top-order batsman and on the other hand, is India's debuting young gun. Who will the selectors choose?

Anmol Banerjee
Last updated: 14.09.2019
Rohit Sharma vs Shubman Gill | Sports Social Blog

As Team India starts prepping up for up-coming T20 and Test series against South Africa, the Senior Selection Committee sought to address the opening woes India faced during the Test matches against the West Indies. 

 

Recently, BCCI announced Rohit Sharma as the replacement of out of form KL Rahul for the test series. Rohit Sharma will also captain Board President XI against South Africans during the 3-day game on September 26 in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh. From the other side, we also hear that 2018 Under-19 World Cup star and Kolkata Knight Riders player, Shubman Gill wins his maiden Test call-up as a backup opening/middle-order batsmen. While Mayank Agarwal has successfully fixed his spot as a Test opener for India, the fans are eagerly waiting to see who will be his partner in this Test series.

 

Chief Selector, MSK Prasad, when declaring the 15 men squad, also talked about Shubman Gill's versatility as a batsmen for both positions and giving a chance to Rohit to repeat his white-ball performance in Tests. The question is: Who will be the suitable Test opener for India and why?

 

  1. Rohit Sharma



This 32 yr old right-hand batsman made his test debut for India, against West Indies in November, 2013. He debuted as a middle-order batsman but doesn't have any Test opening experience. Since his debut, he has played 27 Test and 47 Innings at an average of 39.62 and strike-rate of 55, with a total of 1585 runs, which includes 3 centuries and 10 half-centuries. 

Rohit recently has faced many downs in Test cricket. He was dropped from the Test team after scoring just 78 runs in 4 innings during India tour of South Africa Test Series in early 2018. He played only two out of four Test matches against Australia (end of 2018). In 2019, he had to sit out in both of the Test matches against West Indies as Hanuma Vihari made his way to the playing 11. 

While Rohit is a strong front foot player and his pull shots and lofted straight drives are a delight to one's eyes, he is not a good player of well-delivered slower balls and late swings of kookaburra balls. Keeping in mind his 2019 World Cup heroics, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly wants Rohit to open in the Test cricket but it is not always so that the best openers of ODI Cricket also successfully open in Test cricket.

 

  1. Shubman Gill



This fresh entrant into the Test team got his spot after his top scores for India A in the tour of West Indies where he was declared Man of the Series. In his First-class cricket career, he has the record of 'youngest Indian to score a first-class double hundred (268 runs)'. 

He debuted in First-class cricket in 2017 and since then has played 14 matches and 23 innings where he has an average of 72.15 and strike-rate of 74.84, with total 1443 runs, which include 4 centuries and 8 half-centuries. He made his IPL debut in 2018 and since then made a total of 499 runs. 

This right-handed batsman has the ability to play at any position in the team. His bottom-handed technique is his strength and his batting acumen and fielding prowess makes him a strong contender among other youngsters. The 20 yr old batsman is full of passion, confidence, and hard work. Being a young player, he has a long way to go and a lot to contribute to the team than Rohit Sharma. 

Even though he has an opening experience in First-class cricket, how he performs as India's Test opener will be something to watch. The selectors, team management and his fans have high hopes from him.

Even though it will take Shubman time to match the wholesome cricket experience Rohit has got, still, Rohit's few weaknesses and Shubman's recent glory makes Shubman a better option for an opening batsman. The rest is in the hands of the team think tank i.e. the Indian Team Management.

 


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