Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag has backed Rohit Sharma to bat at number six for India ahead of all-rounder Hanuma Vihari in the upcoming first Test against West Indies which begins on Thursday in Antigua. Rohit last played a Test match against Australia last year where he couldn't make an impact with the bat. He has been handed another shot at cementing his spot in the Test squad after his impressive show in the recently-concluded ICC World Cup 2019.
No.1 ranked India will arguably start favourites against West Indies as they look to get their ICC World Test Championship campaign off to a flyer. It remains to be seen what team combination will captain Virat Kohli and team management pick for the opener of the two-match series. While Vihari will hold the edge over Rohit due to his all-round skills, Sehwag believes Rohit will add solidarity to the Indian batting line-up.
Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are the certain starters in the top-order with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal likely to open the batting which leaves Rohit and Vihari fighting for the no.6 spot. Vihari was also a part of the Indian Test squad which scripted history in Australia by becoming the first Asian side to win a series Down Under.
"India will have a look at the wicket and if it is good for batting, they (India) can pick five batsmen with a wicketkeeper and have five bowlers. It's the World Test Championship, so winning is more important than to pay for a draw," Sehwag was quoted as saying in an interview.
"Who played at no. 6 in the last series? Four is Virat, five is Rahane and six could be Hanuma Vihari because he can bowl a few overs too. But if you ask me, I will pick Rohit Sharma because he has the ability to score big hits. If there comes a stage where you are closing in on declaration, he can score those quick runs," he added.
Rohit is heading into the Test series on a confident note after a stellar World Cup as he looks to find his feet back in the Test format. He finished as the leading run-getter in the showpiece event with 648 runs under his belt. In the tour match against West Indies A, Rohit slammed a half-century and will be hopeful of replicating his heroics in the first Test if given a chance.