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‘Has to work it out with Dravid…’: Zaheer on Rohit’s challenges in ENG series | Cricket

Rohit Sharma led India to a historic series draw in South Africa earlier this year and his next big challenge as Test captain is to maintain his side’s hegemony at home in the upcoming five-match series against England. India are on a record run of 16 series unbeaten at home in Test cricket, with the next best being Australia’s run of 10 between 1994 and 2000 and 2004 and 2008. However, they are facing an England side who have not lost a Test series since Ben Stokes took over as captain and Brendon McCullum as head coach in June 2022.

Rohit has established as one of the best Test openers in the world since he was promoted to that position in 2019.(Getty Images)

Rohit was famously unable to convert the incredible success he enjoyed in limited overs cricket to the longest format for a large part of his career until he was made India’s opener in 2019. Since then, he has established himself as one of the best Test openers in the world and former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan feels that he will have a big role to play in that position during the series against England.

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“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,” said Zaheer on Star Sports. He also pointed out Rohit’s knock of 161 off 231 balls in the first innings of India’s second Test against England in Chennai in February 2021 on a difficult pitch.

“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.

‘He’s a proven leader’

The 45-year-old, who took 311 wickets in 92 Test matches for India, said that he expects Rohit’s impact to be along those lines but it will be slightly different this time since he is captain. Virat Kohli was still leading India the last time England toured the country and this will be the first time that Rohit leads the side in a five-match Test 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.

“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,” said Zaheer.

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