New Delhi: He was instrumental in turning middle-order batsman Virender Sehwag into one of India's best Test openers and now former India skipper Sourav Ganguly wants current captain Virat Kohli to try the same trick with limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma. While Rohit opens in ODIs, he bats in the middle-order in the longer format of the game.
"It's a new beginning for Virat Kohli and his boys. Not only is this a fresh start after the wins in the T20 and ODI series, they kick-start India's campaign in the ICC Test Championship, an effort by the authorities of the game to create that extra competitive punch in the best format of the game."
"Why is Test cricket still considered to be the best format of the game? One needs to cast a glance at the ongoing Ashes series to clear all doubts," Ganguly wrote in his column for Times of India.
Ganguly feels that it is important to let Rohit carry forward his good form that saw the batsman rule the roost during the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
"But, for India the major decision is whether they want to play Rohit or Rahane. It was a similar situation in South Africa. My suggestion would be to let Rohit carry on his good form from the World Cup and settle in the opener's slot while Rahane continues his good work of lending stability to the middle-order," he said.
While wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha comes from Bengal, Ganguly once again showed why he was such a good captain as he voted for Rishabh Pant to start as the first-choice keeper.
"For India, the most important aspect will be team composition. After his impressive showing in Test cricket in Australia and England, Rishabh Pant should be starting ahead of Wriddhiman."
"The absence of Hardik Pandya provides an opportunity to Ravindra Jadeja to fill in a slot where he can be a useful batter and the second spinner, which the management seem inclined towards," the former India captain pointed.
In the bowling department he backed Mohammed Shami over Bhuvneshwar Kumar. "Ishant (Sharma) and (Jasprit) Bumrah are certain and I would prefer Shami over Bhuvneshwar, simply because of his superior ability in Test cricket.
"As for the specialist spinner, it should be the experienced R. Ashwin first and that would bring back the old pair of Jadeja and Ashwin together," he explained.