India vs South Africa: VVS Laxman backs Rohit Sharma to come good at the top of the order in Test cricket

Rohit Sharma will make his return to Test cricket as an opener when India takes on South Africa at Vizag on October 2
India vs South Africa: VVS Laxman backs Rohit Sharma to come good at the top of the order in Test cricket
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Ahead of the Test series against South Africa, former India batsman VVS Laxman wants Rohit Sharma to stick to his natural game when he takes fresh guard at the Test arena as an opener. Laxman was one of the earlier examples, who was made to open the batting between 1996-1998 despite being a middle-order batsman.

"The biggest advantage that Rohit has is his experience, which I didn't have. I opened in Test cricket only after playing four Test matches. Rohit has played 12 years of international cricket. So he has the maturity and the experience and he is also in good form," Laxman told Deep Dasgupta, during an interview for Deep Dasgupta's YouTube channel "Deep Point".

"I believe the mistake that I made while opening the innings was to change my mindset, which got me a lot of success as a middle-order batsman, whether it's batting No 3 or No 4. I also tried to change my technique. As a middle-order batsman, I was always having a front press and then go towards the ball, whereas talking to seniors and coaches, I went to back and across as I had to face Curtly Ambrose, who would generate steep bounce from length. This huge change in approach affected my batting and I hope Rohit shouldn't do it."

"If you tweak your natural game too much, then you will not get results as your mind gets cluttered and you tend to lose your rhythm. I can admit that my flow was affected when I opened. Rohit is a rhythm-based player and if his touch gets affected, then it will be difficult."

On opening the innings, Laxman said, "There is a slight change in mindset but technique should remain the same. Yes, there are certain  basics like initially, you shouldn't be fishing for balls outside the off-stump, not play too much away from the body, leave the bouncers. That mental discipline, which is very important. That discipline is also required in ODIs when white kookaburra swings."

"Another thing that would work in his favor is opening for the first time in Indian conditions. So it is a good thing to open, when the wicket is fresh and evenly-paced and playing well. With passage of time, batting can become difficult on uneven, abrasive surfaces, it could become difficult to play reverse swing, or when the ball is spinning."

Laxman was also happy with the selection committee as it had clearly stated that Rohit Sharma would open in all the three Test matches.

"He will get three Tests and it's not often that a selection committee shows so much faith in a player and guarantee that he will open in three games."

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