Mumbai, India’s Test vice captain Ajinkya Rahane has backed Rohit Sharma to come good in the longest format of the game, saying he is a special talent and it was not easy to see him sit out of the team in the recently concluded series against the West Indies.
“I don’t know yet whether Rohit will open the innings. If he does, I will be happy for him. I said in West Indies also, it is hard to see a special talent like Rohit sitting out,” Rahane said at a promotional event here on Thursday.
“He has worked so hard and if he gets an opportunity, I am sure, he will do well,” Rahane added.
Rohit was not part of the first XI in India’s tour of the West Indies. While Rahane and Hanuma Vihari got runs to cement their place in the middle order, there was no place for India’s star limited overs vice-captain.
The team management now seems keen to try out Rohit as an opener in tests alongwith Mayank Agarwal after his stupendous success in that position in white-ball cricket.
“We all know the quality he has — special talent. Test cricket is all about mindset and ODI cricket, you can just go out there and back yourself. In Test cricket, sometimes if two bowlers are bowling good spells, you need to respect that and come out strong and play your game after that,” Rahane said.
Asked about his ambitions to make a comeback to the ODI side, Rahane said: “Apart from Tests, I really enjoy playing ODI cricket as well. I want to comeback to ODIs. Right now, the focus is completely on this series. After the Australia series, there was a long break. When I got to know that I was not part of the World Cup squad, my plan was to play county cricket and luckily the Hampshire people called me and asked about county cricket.
“I thought I can actually use my time really well and learn about cricket and life. It’s a completely different experience when you play county cricket. Here, we get things so easily. In county cricket, you need to do everything on your own,” said Rahane.
India will start as overwhelming favourites against a young South Africa side but Rahane said pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj need to be respected.
“Rabada is a quality bowler. He is a wicket-taker. It doesn’t matter how the wicket will be. We have to respect him and the other bowlers. They have got a relatively young team, but their bowling attack — fast bowlers and spinners are experienced. Keshav Maharaj has played county cricket and did well in red ball. You need to respect them,” he signed off.