India's skipper Virat Kohli threw his weight behind opener Rohit Sharma to succeed in the longer format of the game and said that there was 'no rush' for the Hit Man to perform. Ahead of India's first Test game against South Africa in Vishakapatnam on Wednesday, skipper Virat Kohli said that Rohit Sharma had no pressure on him to perform and that Rohit Sharma had proved to be an exceptional opener in the limited-overs format despite the hue and cry about his position in the batting order. Skipper Virat Kohli also revealed that youngster Rishabh Pant will sit out of the contest and Wriddhaman Saha would take over the gloves behind the wicket. The dangerous Ravichandran Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja combo will also be back for India as the home side will look to extend their lead at the top of the ICC World Test Championship table.
Virat Kohli backed opener Rohit Sharma and said that the batting depended on where the game was being played as conditions differ at home and abroad. Citing former opener Virender Sehwag's case, Virat Kohli explained that no one had told Sehwag how to play but once he had settled, he had gone on to wreak havoc at the bowlers and put India in pole position. Virat Kohli said that Rohit Sharma would eventually get to that position and that the team was not pressurizing Rohit Sharma to perform. Hailing Rohit Sharma as a 'mature and smart' cricketer, Virat Kohli said that Rohit Sharma would be given the space to finding the balance and said that the batsman's performance would depend on the situation of the game. Skipper Virat Kohli said that the entire team wants to see Rohit Sharma perform at his best and replicate his magnificent form in the longer format of the game.
In the net sessions ahead of the first Test, all eyes were on Rohit who seemed very much determined to make the most of the opportunity and improve his Test record. In 27 Tests, he has made 1585 runs at 39.62 while he is the owner of more than 10,000 runs in limited-overs cricket.
"If you ask me, Rohit Sharma should have opened in Tests from the beginning of his career. You play him one match and then drop him and say Rohit Sharma is not scoring runs in Test cricket. How can you expect someone to perform without giving him 10 Test," asked Rohit's former teammate Yuvraj in a recent interview. "Now if you are making Rohit Sharma open in Tests, you should give him 6 Tests and tell him Rohit, you have got 10-12 innings, go and play your game, nobody will say anything. "You gave so many chances to K L Rahul, so whoever is your opener, give him those 6 Test matches so that he can go and express himself," Yuvraj added.