'Rohit will be the top name in Indian cricket history if…': Pathan's GOAT claim | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'Rohit Sharma's name will be kept top-most in Indian cricket history if…': Pathan's GOAT claim ahead of IND vs SA Tests

Dec 11, 2023 03:49 PM IST

Irfan Pathan has made a monumental prediction for Rohit Sharma if India land their first Test series win in South Africa.

Former all-rounder Irfan Pathan has hinted that Rohit Sharma will cement his place as the greatest Indian cricketer of all time if under him, India can beat South Africa for their first-ever Test series win in the land of the Proteas. India have never won a Test series in South Africa across eight tours, dating back to 1992. They won their first-ever Test on South Africa soil in 2006 under Rahul Dravid, and the closest they came to sealing the series was in 2010-11, when the three-match series ended in a 1-1 draw. In 2018 and 2022, India managed to win a Test each but couldn't capture the series.

Rohit Sharma could cement himself as Indian cricket's greatest ever, says Irfan Pathan(Getty)
Rohit Sharma could cement himself as Indian cricket's greatest ever, says Irfan Pathan(Getty)

Indian cricket has witnessed some epic wins – in Australia under Virat Kohli in 2018, in England in 2007, in New Zealand under MS Dhoni – and provided they can conquer the final 'SENA' frontier, Pathan is certain that a win in South Africa will truly mark a watershed moment for Indian cricket and in Rohit's career.

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"If Rohit Sharma is able to conquer South Africa, his name will be kept top-most in India's cricket history as captain and player because he only has the key to wins in both these matches. He is both an opener and a captain. If you play out the new ball, your other batters will get the chance to shine. That's why you should remove the shine from the new ball," he said in a discussion with Star Sports.

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To guide India to victory in South Africa will be a huge motivating factor for Rohit, who is still believed to be recovering from the loss to Australia at the World Cup final last month. Since taking over from Kohli, Rohit has had decent success as India's Test captain, tasting five wins and two losses from nine matches. Rohit missed India's last tour of South Africa in January of 2022 due to a hamstring injury, and riding on the high of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year, the skipper would be eager to hit the ground running.

Rohit's own form, along with Kohli's promises to play a pivotal role in India's prospects, and Pathan expresses confidence in the captain replicating his success, as seen during the summer of 2021 against England. Rohit amassed 368 runs across four Tests with an impressive average of 52.57, including a century at The Oval, a notable 83 at Lord's, and a solid 59 at Headingley.

"He went fully prepared and batted amazingly in the Test series when he went to England. I feel you will see Rohit Sharma preparing with the same passion before he goes. Rohit's challenge will be to play out the new ball, score his runs and take his team forward. He is going to wear a lot of hats and only the most experienced player in your team is capable of wearing so many hats. We have two big brothers in this team - Rohit and Virat Kohli. There will be a lot of dependency on both of them," added Pathan.

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