The Indian team management’s decision to have Rohit Sharma open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal in the recently concluded Test series against South Africa proved to be a masterstroke, as he scored 529 runs across four innings at an average of 132.25.
And ex-Indian batsman VVS Laxman has said that Rohit deserves praise for the way he not only had a clear game plan at the top of the order, but for sticking to it and executing it in changing circumstances.
“Not only did he come with a clear game plan, he also showed the discipline to stick to it, which to me was a huge tick in the box,” Laxman wrote in his column for TOI.
“Once he got his eye in and the pitch eased out a touch, he was back dotting the landscape with conventional free-flowing Rohit strokes. That he kicked on to score his maiden double-ton (in the third Test) was further proof of his desire to not be satisfied easily.
“Batting with the maturity that experience brings with it, Rohit showcased impeccable judgement in the first session when an inspired Kagiso Rabada was making the most of assistance from the surface. With the ball jagging around, Rohit left balls outside off repeatedly, refusing to play unless he needed to.”
Laxman also praised India’s pace attack for the ruthless efficiency they showed in the third Test in particular.
“Contrary to expectations, pace more than spin got the job done for the hosts after they amassed close to 500,” he said.
“It was terrific to watch Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav not just pick up wickets, but also the manner in which they did so.
“I was delighted that Shahbaz Nadeem made his debut, just reward for years of unsung toil in first class cricket. It was a bonus that the debut came at his home ground, and the fact that he looked entirely at home in Test cricket bears testimony to the depth and robustness of the Indian domestic structure,” Laxman concluded.