Ajinkya Rahane backs Rohit Sharma to do well as opener in Tests

“I don’t know yet whether Rohit will open the innings. If he does, I will be happy for him. I said in West Indies also, it is hard to see a player like Rohit sitting out,” Rahane said.

Rohit Sharma has been picked for the upcoming South Africa Tests.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Ajinkya Rahane’s association with Rohit Sharma goes back a long way. Much before breaking into the Indian team, the two have had stints with Mumbai cricket, at various levels. And as the cricketing fraternity debates on whether whether Rohit should open the innings for India in Tests, Rahane says, he will be happy to see his old friend do the honours.

“I don’t know yet whether Rohit will open the innings. If he does, I will be happy for him. I said in West Indies also, it is hard to see a player like Rohit sitting out,” Rahane said during a meet and greet organised by Indian Oil on Thursday.

“He worked so hard and if he gets an opportunity, I will be very happy and I am sure he will do well. We all know the quality he has — he is a special talent.”

READ: I want to come back to ODIs, says Rahane

Despite being one of the consistent performers in the limited overs side, Rohit hasn’t been able to cement his spot in Tests. “Test cricket is all about mindset and in ODI cricket, you can just go out there and back yourself. In Test cricket, sometimes if two bowlers are bowling good spells, you need to respect that and come out strong and play your game after that,” Rahane said.

India’s challenge in Test series begins against South Africa from October 2. And Rahane feels that Kagiso Rabada can take wickets in any conditions. “Rabada is a quality bowler. He is a wicket-taker. Doesn’t matter how the wicket will be. We have to respect him and the other bowlers. They have got a relatively young team, but their bowling attack -- fast bowlers and spinners are experienced,” he said.

“Keshav Maharaj has played county cricket and did well in red ball. You need to respect them. We know the Indian conditions really well and we have to get off to the start really well and I always believe, when you focus on your strength as a team, it doesn’t matter what the opposition is doing…” the Test team’s vice-captain said.