Ponting, Gavaskar bat for Rohit as opener, criticise Shaw, Agarwal

Adelaide, Dec 19 : Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Saturday batted for the inclusion of Rohit Sharma as early as possible into the Indian squad for the ongoing Test series against Australia, saying that he is a far better player than either of India’s current opening batsmen, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.

The two openers aggregated just 30 between them across the two innings of the first Test which India lost by eight wickets. Of those 30, Shaw got just four which was in the second innings.

“He (Rohit) will definitely play. He is a better Test player than Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw. If he is fit then he will straightaway slot at the top of the order,” said Ponting while speaking on Channel 7.

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Former India opener and captain Sunil Gavaskar, when asked about Rohit, told Channel 7, “Yes, yes, yes, he is definitely going to play in this Test series. He is already in Australia as far as I know and he might not be playing the second Test but he will be there for the third and the fourth.”

Gavaskar had been critical of the technique of the India openers saying that they were approaching the new ball with hard hands.

“You can see he (Shaw) was pushing at the deliveries (in warm-ups), playing with hard hands and that has been his major problem,” said Gavaskar. “Even in this Test, there was such a big gap between bat and pad. It was just the second delivery of the game (first innings dismissal). You want to make sure that you are playing with soft hands and as late as possible.

“The whole idea in Test match cricket is not to go there (take the bat far from the body) because then you are leaving a gap between bat and pad, allowing for late movement to get an inside edge or sneak between bat and pad. The trick is to play as close to the pad as possible… you can play shots later but at the start you can’t leave the gap.”

Gavaskar, who was the first to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, also criticised Mayank Agarwal. “He too was pushing hard and left a gap between bat and pad (first innings) which was enough for a truck to pass through. That is the mistake Indians are making, they are pushing hard at the ball.”


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