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Rohit, Virat ready to replace Big 3 in Test squad?

Last updated on: December 6, 2011 14:31 IST

Rohit, Virat ready to replace Big 3 in Test squad?

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As the big three of Indian Test batting -- Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman -- enter the twilight of their careers, the spotlight is firmly on the men who seek to replace them in the years to come.

Young guns Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have emerged as front-runners to occupy two of the three slots. The trio of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman are, perhaps, on their last tour to Australia when they depart ahead of the rest of the touring party on December 8 and replacements need to be identified sooner than later.

Sharma, 24, and Kohli, 23, have been in top form in the 50-over format that has, of late, been the stepping stone for entering Test cricket and, significantly, both have found berths in India's team for the much-awaited four-match Test series commencing December 26.

Image: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma


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Sharma has continued from where he left off in the Caribbean

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Delhi-born Kohli has taken a march over Sharma as far as earning a Test spot in the eleven is concerned. However, it was the latter who was first on the starter's block only to false start through a freak ankle injury just half an hour before commencement of play against Australia a few years ago at Nagpur.

Both have been among the runs in the ODI format. Sharma has continued from where he left off in the Caribbean in the current series against the West Indies at home. Kohli, after having made little impression in the three-Test series on the same tour in May, has done much better when given a chance to test his mettle in the slot vacated by Yuvraj Singh.

Image: Rohit Sharma


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Kohli is the second-highest run scorer in ODIs this year

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With impressive scores of 72, 90 not out and 95 in the first three games, Sharma has been the fulcrum around which the Indian batting has revolved in the ongoing ODI series against the West Indies.

Kohli, on the other hand, made his mark with a classy 117 and his partnership with Sharma took the team past the challenging score in the second match.

Kohli's ton was his eighth in 72 ODIs and third in the last nine games and his tally of over 900 runs in ODIs this year is second only to leading run-getter -- England's Jonathan Trott.

Though he did not prosper in the third game on Monday, which India lost by 16 runs after a top order collapse, Kohli showed good touch.




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'Both have outstanding talent and are ready for Test cricket'

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Sharma is on a roll in the home series. It required a superb direct hit from West Indian captain Darren Sammy from mid on to send him back when, chasing a tough target of 261, he seemed determined to take India home again with half the side down for 84.

According to former India skipper and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar both these batsmen are fully ready for Test cricket.

"They (Rohit and Virat) are future players of India in all formats at the international level. They have very good temperament and good technique to play the short ball which is very important at the international level. They can handle the short ball very well," Vengsarkar said.

"Both have outstanding talent and are ready for Test cricket," he added.


Image: Rohit Sharma


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The duo's real test lies in the tour to Australia

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Virender Sehwag, who is leading the Indian squad in the five-match rubber, was also effusive in his praise of the talented duo of young batsmen in the series.

The duo's tough test obviously lies on the bouncy pitches in Australia where they would be severely tested by the home team's young pace bowlers who would be eager to make a mark.      If they come out with flying colours Down Under, the most severe of their critics would have been answered.


Image: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma


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