‘Only time will tell how big a loss Rohit Sharma’s absence could be for India': England's Dawid Malan ahead 5th Test
England batter Dawid Malan agreed that it will be a big miss for India not to have a player of Rohit's quality at the top if he fails to recover in time for the rescheduled 5th Test against England.
Head coach Rahul Dravid refused to rule out Rohit Sharma from the rescheduled fifth Test against England but the chances of the Indian captain testing negative and being available for the Test match starting on July 1 are slim. It will be a dual blow for India, who lose will out on both their captain and their opening batter in one go. It may end up being a significant blow for India who lead the series 2-1 and will enter the decider eyeing a Test series win in England after 15 years.
England batter Dawid Malan agreed that it will be a big miss for India not to have a player of Rohit's quality at the top if he fails to recover. “Whenever you lose your leader, who’s also one of your best batters, it’s incredibly tough for your team,” said Malan. India are a much-changed batting team compared to the one which won the fourth Test at the Oval in September. KL Rahul and Rohit, who opened, are most likely to be unavailable - the latter has been sidelined due to a right groin injury - and senior batter Ajinkya Rahane has been dropped due to poor form. Ravindra Jadeja’s spot in the team is uncertain as well as he is fighting for the spinner's spot with Ravichandran Ashwin.
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“It will be a big loss if he doesn’t play, but only time will tell how big a loss that could be,” continued Malan. Rohit finished the first four Tests of the series as the highest run-getter for India, and KL Rahul was close on his tail: having neither of those two openers would worry India, with the relatively inexperienced Shubman Gill being relied on to open in his first trip to England.
He might be partnered by Hanuma Vihari or Mayank Agarwal or Cheteshwar Pujara. “Still, there are some very experienced cricketers in the Indian team and very good batters that are on the sidelines. And they could all fill in for Rohit,” said Malan.
Malan, a staple of England’s limited-overs teams, participated in the Test series last summer. However, England’s wholesale changes at the top of the pyramid have meant that he has lost his place in the Test side to a resurgent Ollie Pope at number 3. England are on the up-turn, having beaten New Zealand 3-0 in the series just concluded, recovering well under new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum after a poor Ashes tour down under. “I think the whole of English cricket would want Stokes and Co. to keep playing that way. So hopefully, they can still continue to impress as they have been and push those limits,” concluded Malan.