Mike Hussey backs Rohit Sharma to excel as Test opener in Australian conditions

The Australian tour will be Rohit's first big test as an opener in the longest format.

Rohit Sharma | AFPFormer Australia batsman Mike Hussey has backed India opener Rohit Sharma to do well in the four-Test series Down Under later this year.

See Also: Kris Srikkanth, Irfan Pathan share their opinions on Rohit Sharma's all-time rank as an ODI opener

Rohit dominated the red-ball cricket last year. Opening the batting for the first time in Tests, the Mumbaikar smashed 529 runs in four innings against South Africa.

Although Sharma proved his mettle as Test opener on home shores, his technique against the new ball was supposed to be tested in the tour of New Zealand, where he missed out on two games due to a calf injury earlier this year.

The Australian tour will be his first big test as an opener in the longest format.

"It's going to test any batsman in the world, but I think because he's (Rohit) played a lot of One-Day cricket batting at the top of the order, and now he's been having some success with the red-ball game as well, that'll give him confidence coming in," Hussey said in a chat show on Sony Ten's Pit Stop.

"I have no doubt in my mind that he's got the ability and the skill and the temperament, to be able to handle it."

He further said the key for Rohit would be adaptability to the Australian conditions.

"I think he would adapt. No worries at all of his batting at the top of the order. It will be challenging in Australian conditions against the top-quality bowling attack with pace and bounce."

Hussey also feels India will face stiff challenge during the Test series with the return of Steve Smith and David Warner in Australia’s fold.

Smith and Warner were not part of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2018-19, which India won by defeating Australia 2-1 in their own den. The pair was serving 12-month bans for their involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

"Obviously, bringing back Smith and Warner into the team is huge, but the guys that were exposed and perhaps probably weren't quite ready at the time from two years ago, have now managed to get a number of Test matches under their belt... India are going to be up for a stiff challenge in Australia this summer," he opined.

"Put that with a world-class bowling attack in Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and (James) Pattinson as well with Nathan Lyon...I think the team looks extremely strong, they are playing some excellent Test cricket. We know India are a world-class team, but they have to be at their best to beat the Australian team on home soil."

Hussey believes the absence of Smith and Warner exposed the young Australians to the rigours of Test cricket.

"They basically had to either sink or swim and someone like (Travis) Head I think has really shown a lot of character, a lot of guts and a lot of fight in grabbing hold of his opportunity and he's performed pretty well," he said.

In the wake of the ball-tampering saga, Hussey reckons the Australian team has worked extremely hard to gain their respect back.

"The team copped up a lot of stick, lost a lot of respect in the cricket community here in Australia and all around the world. They've worked extremely hard over the last couple of years to gain the respect back from the cricket community, by the way they play and the way they conduct themselves and I think Tim Paine's led that really well," he stated.


By Salman Anjum - 01 Jul, 2020

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