Former chief selector MSK Prasad has opened up on Rohit Sharma's meteoric rise in the Test format, saying that the team management was confident about his ability to perform in red-ball cricket.
Just like his white-ball stint with India, Rohit initially struggled to cement his place in the Test format. However, it's been a completely different story since his promotion to the top. In his maiden Test as an opener, Rohit scored 176 and 127 in the first Test against South Africa. He followed up with scores of 14 and 212, securing his place in Indian whites.
In an exclusive interaction with India TV, MSK Prasad revealed how Rohit was assigned the role in the traditional format.
"Rohit's Test career was full of ups and downs but his ODI performance, especially after 2016-17, shot up in a phenomenal way. His stint in white-ball cricket was on another level. With Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari in the middle order, we thought Rohit would be a good fit at the top in place of Murali Vijay.
"After Rohit's dream run in the 2019 World Cup, we thought Rohit would definitely perform in Test cricket and decided to make him an opener in the South Africa series. And the rest is history. I had a chat with Kohli and Shastri, and it was a joint decision to assign him the role," Prasad told India TV.
"Rohit grabbed the opportunity with both hands and notched up a brilliant double century. If you perform in Test cricket, you're labelled as a 'complete player'. Rohit was 'more than happy' to start the innings in the Test format," he further said.
The 34-year-old currently averages 79.52 in 18 home Tests, with seven tons and six half-centuries under his belt. Overall, the Mumbaikar has donned 38 Test caps, where he has scored 2615 runs at 46.69.
Rohit will be seen in action in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand, scheduled to start from June 18th in Southampton. Rohit has secured his position at the top but the team management is spoilt for choices over his opening partner, with young Shubman Gill and technically sound Mayank Agarwal in their ranks.