Kohli's absence a great chance for Rohit to shine, says McGrath

Australia fast bowling great Glenn McGrath feels Rohit Sharma could leave a mark in the Test Series in Virat Kohli's absence.

Published : Nov 16, 2020 17:10 IST

Virat Kohli (Right) is set to leave for India after the first Test against Australia, which could see Rohit Sharma (Left) shoulder additional responsibility for the rest of the series.
Virat Kohli (Right) is set to leave for India after the first Test against Australia, which could see Rohit Sharma (Left) shoulder additional responsibility for the rest of the series.

Virat Kohli (Right) is set to leave for India after the first Test against Australia, which could see Rohit Sharma (Left) shoulder additional responsibility for the rest of the series.

Former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath reckons that Virat Kohli's absence in the last three Tests of the Border Gavaskar Trophy will be a chance for Rohit Sharma to realise his full potential as a Test batsman.

McGrath, in a select media interaction on Monday, also stressed on how the four Tests will allow other Indian batsmen to leave a mark on the series.

Virat Kohli is set to miss three out of the four Tests as he is due to return home for the birth of his first child. Will that impact India's chances in the Test series?

The birth of your child is a very important time and he wants to be there for it and support his wife. So, I can understand. There is no doubt that it will impact the series, for India to lose a player of his quality and class for potentially three of the four matches is a big blow. It's up to the other players to do the heavy lifting when he is not there.

In Kohli's absence, who are the other Indian batsmen that the Australian bowlers could target?

Rohit Sharma is a quality batsman who hasn't achieved at Test level what he should be achieving in my opinion... Maybe when Virat goes home, he might step up. Having said that, you can't just focus on one player. You have (Ajinkya) Rahane, (Cheteshwar) Pujara, (KL) Rahul, so there's a quality batting line up. Once Virat leaves, it will be an opportunity for someone else to put their hand up and make a mark on the series. Maybe that could be Rohit Sharma.

Given the circumstances and the fact that Kohli will return home after the first Test, how important is the Adelaide Test going to be?

The first Test is going to be interesting - it is a Day/Night Test ... India haven't played a Day/Night Test in Australia before and it is unique, especially with the sun setting and at night, where it starts favouring the bowlers, primarily the quicks. It is about timing - when you are bowling or batting in those conditions. Virat, if he is going to have an impact, needs to come good in that Test match... the first Test will set the tone - two years ago, when they (India) were here, they won the first game in Adelaide and then, went on to win the series. So, both teams would want to get off to a good start.

Jasprit Bumrah has all the attributes to become one of fast bowling greats, says Glenn McGrath.

Jasprit Bumrah hasn't played a Test match since February this year. What does he need to do to hit the ground running in Australia?

(Jasprit) Bumrah is a class bowler. I have spoken to him, and I like his mindset, his attitude and the way he goes into a game. He has a lot of mental strength to go along with his skill. He bowls good pace and good areas... his second and third spells are just as quick as his first, so he has got every attribute to be one of the greats at the end of his career. He will be fine - it is about confidence and getting a few overs under your belt... the first few matches here will be important for him in terms of finding the right length on the slightly quicker wickets here. That said, he did pretty well in the IPL recently, bowled a lot of overs, so he will be confident in his body.


How has the game evolved since your playing days? 

The main difference is the pace at which cricket is played these days. There is lots of T20 cricket, so quicker pace to start with and that has impacted ODIs and Test cricket. Back when we played, especially the shorter version (ODIs), scores of 300 weren't as common as they are now. Look at India, they don't fear coming to Australia like they used to.. the bounce and pace worried them when they were here previously but now they've got used to playing in Australian conditions. They've had success- especially in that last series where they beat Australia for the first time. That will give them a lot of confidence. On top of that, they've played a lot of cricket with the Australians in the IPL and doing that has brought down a few barriers; you realise that the opposition is just normal people as well and that can have an impact. Also, doing well in different countries gives you confidence... Indians coming here will have a different mindset to what they have had previously.

India's tour of Australia will be telecast live from 27th November, 8.00 am, on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels

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