IND vs SA: Rohit Sharma's biggest mental challenge during India vs South Africa 1st Test reveals Sunil Gavaskar
Image Source: Hindustan Times

IND vs SA: Rohit Sharma’s biggest mental challenge during India vs South Africa 1st Test: The butterflies can already be felt in the stomachs of the cricket fans who have fallen in love with the traditional form of the sport as Team India gears up to face mighty South Africa in their den. India will return to the red ball format after four long months and it is going to be a crazy challenge for the Indians to conquer the Proteas, who have been impeccable in their home soil.

The India vs South Africa two-game Test series begins on December 26 at the SuperSport Park in Centurian. The IND vs SA fixture will get underway at 1:30 PM.

Notably, the test series will also mark the presence of veteran players with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah among others coming under a hood after the ICC World Cup 2023.

The last time India toured South Africa in 2021, the scoreline remained 2-1 in favour of the Proteas. Despite claiming the first test convincingly, India lost two consecutive games to lose the well-set three-game test series in the last tour in 2021-22.

Interestingly, this will be Rohit Sharma’s first test series in South Africa as the leader of the side. The flamboyant batter had to miss out on the last South Africa test tour as he copped a blow in his hamstring.

The upcoming two-game series will be his chance to rewrite India’s name in the history books by becoming the second Asian side to defeat South Africa in a test series. Back in 2019, Sri Lanka became the first Asian team to defeat Proteas in a test series.

However, playing test cricket is no mean task in South Africa, especially for the batters. While the bowlers enjoy their outing in this part of the world, the batters have seemingly struggled to get going.

IND vs SA: Biggest Challenge for Rohit Sharma in South Africa Test

IND vs SA: Rohit Sharma's biggest mental challenge during India vs South Africa 1st Test reveals Sunil Gavaskar
Rohit Sharma during IND vs WI 2nd Test | AFP/Getty Image

Pointing out a couple of challenges for Rohit Sharma, former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar believes the foremost challenge for the Indian captain would be to shift his mental state from ODIs to red-ball cricket.

“First and foremost, the challenge would be to get your mental state into a Test match situation. He has been batting in the ODI format where he had decided that he was going to be playing the attacking role and try and score as many runs as possible in the first 10 overs of field restrictions,” Gavaskar said. 

The cricketer-turned-analyst added that Rohit Sharma would ensure that Team India reaches a comfortable score at the end of the day, should he remain unbeaten.

“He has to think in terms of batting the whole day. If he bats the whole day, then clearly, with the range of shots he has got, he will be able to end up with 150-plus not, then India will be 300-plus or 350-plus,” he added.

Interestingly, Rohit Sharma has been instrumental in consistently giving Team India brisk starts. The right-handed batter has taken his odd chances in the first few overs to keep the scoreboard ticking and that has certainly worked for the team as well.

However, executing such a strategy in South Africa against the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Gerald Coetzee and Lungi Ngidi would need enormous concentration. It remains to be seen how Rohit Sharma plans his innings as the Protea pacers would go the extra mile to take his wicket as early as possible.

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For more details head to ICC’s official website.