Rohit was pushed to open the innings ahead of the Test series in the practice game and made a two-ball duck.
India have struggled with their opening combination for quite a while. With Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan struggling, Mayank Agarwal was brought into the setup. Young sensation Prithvi Shaw also came in but injuries and a subsequent ban has seen him out of the setup for the time being.
With KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal - partners at Karnataka since the youth days - settling in at the top, India were expected to wade through the tough period but instead Rahul ran into another roadblock and suddenly as the home series against South Africa beckoned, they were out of opening options.
Despite there being domestic talents like Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyank Panchal, India's obsession with Rohit Sharma saw the ODI opener earmarked for doing the same job in Test cricket.
"He is going to be a match-winner as Test opener," head coach, Ravi Shastri had commented ahead of the move.
It was a move fraught with risk for the simple fact that Rohit has never quite moved his feet well enough even in ODIs. Even if he did succeed in home conditions where it doesn't swing around, would he be a reliable long-term option?
The test by fire had to come before the main series started and India chose to test him at the top in the warm-up game for the Proteas against the Board President's XI. Rohit was sent out to open with Test regular Mayank Agarwal, but the move lasted just two balls as Rohit was snared for a duck by veteran seamer Vernon Philander.
In the practice game at Vizianagaram, Rohit edged Philander behind the stumps to Heinrich Klaasen to set off a series of trolls.
While Rohit has a huge number of fans backing him to succeed, there are several haters who haven't taken a liking to the special treatment India have always reserved for the Mumbaikar.
BomB 💣 Another 200 For Rohit Sharma 😍🔥 pic.twitter.com/25qRQvGw6i
— Trollvk_haters™ (@TrollvkH) September 28, 2019
Rohit Sharma fall 200 runs short from smashing a Double Century!#Betterthanrahul🤔
— Bhavya Shah (@BhavyaShah2612) September 28, 2019
Rohit Sharma is the best Test opener in the world even before he opens a single innings in first class cricket.
Also lasted 2 balls in the practice game. #JustSaying
— K (@kiran_aravelli) September 29, 2019
Series hasn't even started, Rohit Sharma already scoring ducks. But likes post about Rahul for doing the same lol. Absolutely no shame.
Would like see faces of the likes of Ganguly, some self proclaimed experts and obviously, Rohit fans.
— Sharique (@ShariqueAghaz) September 28, 2019
With domestic talents awaiting turns, the move to go with Rohit at the top is bizarre and is already showing cracks. Unless he silences critics with a big series, Rohit as a Test opener will have a slim future.
Featured image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain