Rohit Sharma of India bats during day two of the Third Test match in the series between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.(Getty Images)
Rohit Sharma of India bats during day two of the Third Test match in the series between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.(Getty Images)

Not the easiest of conditions but I will be ready for that challenge: Rohit Sharma on opening in Tests in New Zealand

Rohit Sharma made a smashing return to the five-day game in 2019 as an opener, but this will be his first taste of opening the batting against the red ball outside India.
UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2020 12:47 PM IST

Rohit Sharma is currently on a break from international cricket but he is not very far from the game. Rohit will return to the Indian squad for the ODI series at home against Australia but that is right up his alley. The big challenge for him will be the Test series in New Zealand. The 32-year old made a smashing return to the five-day game in 2019 as an opener, but this will be his first taste of opening the batting against the red ball outside India.

“For me personally, it’s going to be a challenge without doubt, facing the new ball bowlers and the guys who bowl in the middle overs,” Rohit said in an interview to PTI.

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The ball swings a lot more outside the sub-continent and New Zealand is known for producing pitches which suit their swing bowlers, but Rohit is up for the challenge.

“Facing the new ball in any conditions is not that easy. Of course, it’s lot tougher outside India. But then, we played three Test matches against South Africa and I have never seen the ball swing so much in India like it did in Pune (second Test).

“The first few overs that they (SA) bowled, the pitch was damp and so they got pretty much everything out of it. In Ranchi (where he got a double hundred) also, we were three down in no time.

“But I know what to expect as I have been there the last time (2014 series). Not the easiest of conditions but I will be ready for that challenge,” he added.

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Rohit has been keenly watching New Zealand’s recent series against Australia. Even though New Zealand were soundly thrashed 0-3, Rohit loved the fact that their bowling unit is more consistent in executing plans compared to some of the other international attacks.

“...they come up with plans and stick to them. It’s one thing to make a plan without being able to execute it and another to make a plan and implement it to the T. That makes a lethal bowling combination.”

On to his own game and does he, at times, feel that he could have decided on opening in Tests much earlier, after Virender Sehwag’s retirement? Had that been the case he could have played 55 to 60 games in the longest format compared to the 32 (2141 runs and six hundreds) that he has played so far in six years.

“I know I could think that way...I know it happened late but must have happened for good. That’s what I am thinking now honestly. In fact, I am happy that whatever is going on in my career right now is in my favour.

“Whatever has happened in the past, I cannot change that. I am happy that at least an opportunity to open the batting came to me and I have enjoyed batting up the order.” The fact that Rohit understands his batting much better than earlier is the reason why he was able to score 2442 runs across formats in 2019.

“I don’t know how to describe it but I am really happy what we could achieve as a team. If you know me, at no stage of my career has personal glory been important. The milestones (2442 runs in a year as opener) are fine but winning every series is what we focus on.

(With PTI inputs)

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