'He's done a wonderful job opening' - Kohli applauds Rohit after pioneering move up the order
Pioneering his promotion up the order alongside the then coach Ravi Shastri, former India captain Virat Kohli applauded his successor Rohit Sharma for enjoying a tremendous rise as a Test opener at the highest level. Kohli heaped effusive praise on the contemporary Indian skipper and the influential bat ahead of the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) at The Oval.
Struggling to find his feat at the Test level for good six years amidst inconsistency of game time and lack of clarity on his role and approach in the middle, Rohit was asked to open the batting by the Shastri-Kohli duo at the fag end of 2019. A move that transformed the player's fortunes drastically.
Relishing a place of incumbency and faith from the team management, Rohit Sharma averages a highly impressive 52.76 since then across 22 Tests and 36 innings for the country. He will be entering the WTC 2021-22 final as India's most in-form top 6 batter, on whom the team's fortunes will rest largely against a fire pack Australian pace battery.
In an interview with the ICC, Kohli said his experienced teammate's rise into becoming one of the world's finest Test openers has been heartening to witness at the other end, for, while his limited-overs prowess was never in doubt, it's Rohit's ascent into prominence in the longest version that reflects on his "temperament" and "belief".
Kohli's glowing praise for Rohit the Test opener
"Rohit, I've always said he has got more time than anyone on the ball," Virat Kohli said during his special WTC final interaction with ICC. "That is the special ability he has had from day 1. When I saw him bat, I understood what the hype was all about and why he was rated so highly."
"What he has done for Indian in white-ball cricket over a long period of time we all knew, but the way he has performed in Test cricket in the last 3-4 years is testimony to his temperament towards playing Test cricket and having belief in himself that he can do it," he added.
Kohli remains highly impressed with Rohit's transformation into a mighty successful and influential opening batter for India, recognising how tough the demands of batting at the top against the new ball are. Especially now, when the attacks are robust and pitches bordering on the extreme in favour of the bowlers.
"Opening is not an easy job," Kohli said. "He's done a wonderful job opening for us in the last 3-4 years. So he's performed really well in all formats of the game and he's someone whom you watch you enjoy watching him play. I've had amazing partnerships with him."
Kohli concluded by "hoping" Rohit can replicate the goods produced on the 2021 trip to UK, where he struck a hundred against England at The Oval - the ground set to host the ultimate WTC clash versus Australia.