With India's top-order struggling against England in the ongoing Test series, former India opener and IndiaTV cricket expert Virender Sehwag has suggested captain Virat Kohli to play limited-over opener Rohit Sharma at the top slot in Test cricket as well.
"India have different openers for all three formats. Virat Kohli needs to find out that one perfect pair who can open innings for India in all three formats. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan is a good option but for that, India will have to play Rohit at the opening slot in Tests as well," Sehwag told IndiaTV during the show 'Cricket Ki Baat'.
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After winning the three-match T20I series 2-1, India witnessed a downfall in their batting performances and suffered a 2-1 defeat in the three-match ODI rubber. Starting the five-match Test series with consecutive defeats in Birmingham and Lord’s, Kohli & Co made a comeback with a 203-run win in the third Test in Nottingham. However, they lost the series to the hosts with a match to spare as England pulled off a 60-run victory in the fourth Test in Southampton.
India played three different pairs of openers in first three matches and might give young Prithvi Shaw a chance in the fifth and final Test, starting on Friday at The Oval.
Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan opened India innings in Birmingham, Vijay and KL Rahul got the chance at Lord’s and Rahul-Dhawan found their names on the top of playing eleven for the third and fourth Test.
Commenting on India’s opening slot distress, Sehwag said India still haven't found the right combination. “We had found a perfect opening combination in Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan. But that didn't work. KL Rahul comes in and goes out when one of these fails to perform,” he added.
The 39-year-old also suggested that India can play different pairs of openers in home and away matches.
Recommending Rohit for the opening spot in all three formats, Sehwag explained: “Some people say you have to change your technique when you play Test cricket after limited-over format. But I believe, you should play your natural game no matter which format you bat in. You just need the right mindset not the technique to play in different formats.”
Amidst all the uncertainties, India might give 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw a chance to open alongside Dhawan or Rahul in the fifth Test. However, Sehwag strongly believes that it will create more trouble for the team management and they should try Rohit first before launching Prithvi in the international cricket.
“Prithvi Shaw might get a chance in the fifth Test. But I believe, Rohit deserves a chance before the young chap. India can try Rohit first and then call up Prithvi if he fails to deliver. They can keep Prithvi Shaw in the squad as a third opener. In that way, he'll get to learn a lot in the presence of senior players,” he concluded.
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