New Delhi, Jan 22: With three days left for India-England Test series to begin, former left-arm fast-bowler Zaheer Khan believes a lot will be on the mind of Rohit Sharma in his dual roles as the opening batter and leader of the team.
During the 2021 Test series against England at home, Rohit scored 345 runs in four matches at an average of 57.50, with his highest score in the series being a majestic 161 in the second Test at Chennai. Overall, Rohit has scored 747 runs in nine Tests against England at an average of 49.80, including two centuries and three fifties.
“Since the time Rohit has been an opener in Tests, he’s scored some brilliant hundreds in the toughest of conditions. You’ve seen him adapt nicely in England when it came to leaving the ball. He said that he had worked a lot on it.”
“You’ve seen that in Chennai when he played a match-defining knock. Winning the toss, batting first and getting the opposition completely out in the first innings and being instrumental in that is something which gives satisfaction to any player, playing at the highest level,” said Zaheer to JioCinema.
India secured a 3-1 series win when the two teams last met in the country in 2021, after England had won the opening game. England are yet to lose a Test series under the Stokes-McCullum leadership group and with their attacking style of play the visitors’ are aiming to win the series since their remarkable 2-1 triumph here in 2012.
With the series against England being a five-match Test series, Zaheer feels Rohit has to ensure how India rotate the players in a long assignment at home. “So, he’s had that kind of impact as well. You will see something on those line in this series. It’s a five-Test series so there’ll be a lot on his mind, not just as a batter but also as a leader. He has to work it out with Rahul Dravid and the selectors to see how he can rotate players.”
“Both teams will be looking to do that because a five-Test series brings its own challenges and you got to be staying on top of that tactically, planning about the resources who are more useful in which conditions and get the maximum impact from every individual,” he added.
The upcoming series between India and England will begin at Hyderabad on January 25, followed by other matches at Visakhapatnam (February 2-6), Rajkot (February 15-19), Ranchi (February 23-27) and Dharamshala (March 7-11).
Zaheer also expects Rohit to lead from the front, something which has been a feature of his leadership style. “Everyone knows of the influence and impact that Rohit has had on the whole group. He talks about communication. He gives enough confidence to every player and brings out the best in them.”
“That has been the hallmark of his captaincy and he leads from the front as seen in the World Cup. He walks the talk. When you have a leader walking the talk, it gives you better efficiency within the whole group. So, I think he’s a proven leader.” (IANS)