Former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja on Tuesday picked Rohit Sharma among the sport’s aesthetically pleasing batters but lamented that the Indian opener hasn’t been able to crack the code of Test cricket.
Experienced Rohit will be assigned a crucial task to open the innings in the World Test Championship (WTC) as he looks to prove his mettle in England. The Mumbai Indians skipper has played only one Test in England and this will be the first time when fans will be him opening the innings in English conditions.
In an exclusive interaction with India TV, Ramiz Raja praised Rohit for his batting elegance but mentioned that the 34-year-old will have to spend more time at the crease in England. In 38 Tests so far, Rohit has managed to score 2615 runs at 46.7 including seven tons and 12 half-centuries.
“Rohit is a match-winner. He’s my favourite player as there are only a few players left in the circuit who are aesthetically pleasing. Devon Conway also scored a double century recently but one won’t give money to watch him bat.
“Rohit, on the other hand, is a treat to watch. Once he settles in the middle, he goes on to record hefty innings. He only has to improve his footwork a bit against the new ball. In English conditions, it’s tough to deliver straight away and it’ll be a challenge for him.”
“Rohit hasn’t yet cracked the code in Test cricket. Based on the talent that he’s got, I had predicted that he’ll become a legend in Tests. He has to spend a bit more time at the crease. Great players adjust according to conditions and Rohit will look to spend some more time in the middle. You occupy the crease and you will get runs. That has been the rule since the 1930s,” said Raja.
The cricketer-turned-commentator also touched upon the co-existence of two big players like Rohit and Virat Kohli in the Indian set-up.
“Performance jealousy has always been there. Don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but during my playing days, the team environment meant of great importance to me. The team environment was brilliant under Imran Khan. Best players always look to outdo each other and healthy competition always benefits the team. Virat and Rohit can also thrive together. Players often help each other when they are together in the middle,” he said.
Raja also talked about comparisons between Kohli and Babar Azam, saying that the latter is a ‘stylish’ batsman but needs to prove himself in the Test format.
“Babar Azam needs to improve his Test record. He’s a stylish batsman but he’s to achieve a lot in Test cricket. He will be considered among greats if he slams big innings in Test cricket. If the Pakistan skipper succeeds in doing that, the sky is the limit,” Raja further said.