While missing Shami and Jadeja leaves the Indian bowling attack thin, Rohit’s absence will only make head coach Rahul Dravid’s job easier in deciding the XI in the first Test against Bangladesh, feels former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif.
India were forced to make multiple changes to their Test squad for the Bangladesh series because of injuries to a number of their key players including Rohit Sharma. Apart from Rohit, senior pacer Mohammed Shami and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were ruled out with injuries. The Indian team management is still hopeful of Rohit returning to the scheme of things for the second Test match but Shami and Jadeja are out of both Test matches. While missing Shami and Jadeja leaves the Indian bowling attack thin, Rohit’s absence will only make head coach Rahul Dravid’s job easier, feels former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif.
Kaif agreed that Rohit’s experience and his captaincy skills will be missed but added that it solves the headache of choosing the openers from Rohit. KL Rahul and Shubman Gill. With Rohi out with a dislocated left thumb, suffered during the second ODI while attempting to take a catch, Rahul and Gill are sure to open the batting in the series opener in Chattogram on December 14.
“If Rohit was there, they would have struggled to pick the top two because Shubman Gill is there and KL Rahul is there. Now that Rohit Sharma is not there, we are sorted, then we can have GIll and Rahul opening for the first Test. No.3 will be Pujara, four will be Virat Kohli, five Shreyas Iyer, six Rishabh Pant and then five bowlers with Ashwin and the others coming in. Since Rohit is not there, selection will become a bit easier for Dravid,” Kaif said in a select-media interaction organised by Sony Sports Network ahead of the first Test match.
India have included Abhimanyu Easwaran as Rohit’s replacement for the first Test but the chances of him getting a match are slim. Easwaran, for his part, has been in great form, notching up two solid hundreds in the four-day games against Bangladesh A.
When asked whether Rohit was the right choice to replace Virat Kohli as India’s all-format captain, Kaif said the veteran cricketer has done well as a captain and the expectation of putting an end to the ICC trophy drought gives rise to such a question.
“Rohit has done well since he became captain. Apart from the big multi-nation events like Asia Cup and World Cup. It was the same with Virat. When he was the captain, he was winning all bilaterals so when Rohit became captain people thought we need to win ICC events as there were no trophies. That’s why people are disappointed. But overall, his record is good. In the World Cup, we won four matches. There are ups and downs. South Africa lost to the Netherlands. England lost to Ireland. India played well, apart from one bad against England. Rohit is a good captain. Still, early days for us to judge how he has done.