Indian captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma
Indian captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

Visakhapatnam: India skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday threw his weight behind Rohit Sharma, saying his promotion to the opening slot in Tests could end up making the line-up "more lethal" and the stylish batsman will be given enough "space" to find his game in red-ball cricket.

While Rohit is counted among the modern-day ODI greats, he has not done justice to his potential in Tests, averaging 39.62 in 27 matches. Former players, including Yuvraj Singh, praised the team management's decision to use Rohit at the top and said he should be given a long run.

"...if he does that (succeeds in the opening role), then our batting order at the top becomes more lethal. It is difficult to have a player like that to not start every time," said Kohli on the eve of the first Test against South Africa here.

"...if he comes into his own then the whole batting order looks a completely different batting order anywhere in the world," added the skipper.

Asked if the management is thinking of giving Rohit at least five to six Tests, Kohli said: "We are not looking to rush him. There is a different pattern you follow in India and different abroad. Opening is a spot where you have to give a player space to understand his own game.

"He will be given space to find his game and come into his own," The skipper said it would be great for the team if Rohit can play the role Virender Sehwag did in his prime while insisting that the team is not looking for any specific kind of approach from the stylish batsman.

"In Test cricket I started at (number) six then came up to four. It was more of a mental thing. If you can convince yourself you can do it. Test cricket is about finding your game in different conditions.”

-By Bharat Sharma

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