Vizianagaram: Rohit Sharma was dismissed for a duck in his first match as a red-ball opener on Saturday. Sharma, who is the skipper of Board's President XI was dismissed on day three of the practice match against South Africa. He was sent back to the pavilion by Vernon Philander in the second over of Board President's XI innings.
The match between Board President's XI and South Africa is the only practice match ahead of the series between Proteas and India. On September 12, India had announced the squad for the three-match series against South Africa and chief selector MSK Prasad announced that Sharma would be opening the batting in the series. Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir also vouched for Sharma opening the batting in the Test format and said that the batsman is too good a player to be sitting on the bench.
"If a player scores 5 hundred in the World Cup, then he should be given a chance in the Test format. If he is in the Test team, then he must play. A player like should him not warm the bench," Gambhir had said.
Despite being the world's top-ranked Test side, India have struggled with their opening combination. Since 2018, The Men in Blue have tried out seven openers in Tests - KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari. In this period, Rahul got the most opportunities - 13 Tests and 23 innings - and also scored the most runs (491). But if you go by his batting average of 22.31, he drops to fourth, behind Shaw (118.50), Agarwal (39.28) and Dhawan (27.36)