India captain Rohit Sharma on Thursday lauded Virat Kohli ahead of his landmark 100th Test, saying he deserves all the credit for putting the team in a good position in the format.
India skipper Rohit Sharma, who will lead India in the Test format for the first time on Friday, reflected upon the journey of Virat Kohli to 100 Tests and listed his favourite batting memory of his teammate. Rohit will start his Test captaincy journey when he steps out to lead India against Sri Lanka in the opening game in Mohali starting Friday.
“As a Test team, we stand in a very good position. The whole credit goes to Virat for where we stand in this format. What he has done with the Test team over the years was brilliant to see,” Rohit said in the pre-match press conference, his first as Test skipper.
“I just have to take it from where he has left it. I just have to do the right thing with the right players,” he added.
Although India’s chances of making it to the World Test Championship final look dim at present, Rohit insisted that the team has been moving in the right direction.
“The team stands in a good position. Yes, we are mid-position in the WTC table but I don’t think we have done anything wrong in the last two to three years,” Rohit added.
The mutual respect was there to see when he paid rich tributes to his contemporaries ahead of his landmark game.
“It’s been a brilliant journey for him and a long one since he made his debut. Now to go and play his 100th game. It’s been a wonderful one. He has done exceedingly well in this format, changed so many things in the way the team is moving forward. It’s been brilliant to watch that.
“It’s been one hell of a ride for him, and we definitely want to make it special for him. We are all prepared for that and let’s hope we have a good five days of cricket. The crowd is coming to see Virat play and that’s a great thing.”
For Rohit, the best phase under Kohli was the 2018 Australia series, which they won 2-1.
“As a team, the series we won in Australia in 2018 and it was a big series, and Virat was our captain.”
The best knock of Kohli among his 27 Test hundreds, according to Rohit, is the one he hit in South Africa on his first tour in 2013.
“As a batter, I remember his hundred (in Johannesburg) against South Africa in 2013. The pitch on which we played was a challenging one and we had bowlers like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Jacques Kallis to face, which wasn’t easy,” Rohit recollected.
“It was a bouncy track and we were all playing Test cricket in South Africa for the first time. He scored a hundred in the first innings and 90 odd in the second innings.
“That hundred for me is his best. Then there
“That hundred for me is his best. Then there is Perth 2018 but in 2013 South Africa beat Perth,” he added.
Rohit Sharma says Rahane, Pujara still in India’s future Test plans
India skipper Rohit Sharma on Thursday said that it will not be easy to fill the shoes of seasoned campaigners Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
India captain Rohit Sharma, who begins his captaincy tenure with the first Test in Mohali, confirmed that Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will remain in the team’s ‘future plans’ while adding that it will not be easy to fill their shoes.
Rahane and Pujara have been dropped from the Indian side for the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. Rohit said that both Rahane and Pujara played a huge role in India becoming No. 1 in the longest format of the game while talking about their future with the Test side.
“Look, Rahane and Pujara are big shoes to fill, it will never be easy for whoever comes in, even I do not know who is going to come in for Rahane and Pujara honestly. Look, at what Pujara and Rahane have done for this team, you cannot put it out in words, all these years of hard work and playing 80-90 odd Tests, all those overseas Test wins. India getting to No.1 in Tests, these guys helped us in that situation and they have played a big part in that,” Rohit said during a virtual press conference.
“There is no way that these guys would not be looked upon in the future, they will be in our plans. Like the selector also said, it is just for now that we did not consider them. There is nothing written about them not being considered for the series later on,” he added.
When asked about his preferred opening partner in the absence of KL Rahul, Rohit said: “I am a captain, I’ll prefer everyone to be in the team. We will see and analyze everything and then we will take a call. Mayank, Shubman, Shreyas and Vihari, all are brilliant and they are the future of Indian cricket.”
“I think they need to be given a solid run for them to excel in this format and it is important for us to do that. It will start with the management showing enough support and backing so hopefully, these guys with enough backing, not just from me, but you guys, will also help,” he added.