Rohit Sharma proves the worth of white-ball runs as he rises up the Test rankings

Rohit Sharma

Ollie Phillips

Rohit Sharma made his Test debut in 2013, making a wonderful 177 in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell and following that up with a hundred in his second game at Mumbai. It seemed then that his rise to the top in whites was as inevitable as his limited-overs dominance, but after a series of failures he was left out, spending years in the wilderness before his re-call in 2019.

He returned to the side with the nickname "Hitman" after plundering stacks of runs against the white ball, most of them seemingly coming from hooks and pulls off a shorter length. The faith that Virat Kohli showed in Rohit after the latter's shorter-form success was emphatically rewarded as he became the first Indian to score two hundreds in his first Test as an opener.

It has not been completely plain sailing since then, but as the second Test against England begins at Lord's, Rohit has built a reputation and a role far beyond a tendency to put half-trackers away. He has reached his highest ever ICC rating in Test Cricket, 764, which has taken him to sixth place in the batting rankings and made him the highest-ranked opener in the world.

Despite posting just 36 and 12 not out in the first Test at Trent Bridge, it was striking how much easier Rohit made opening against England's great seamers than his recent predecessors have done. And despite the nature of that first-innings dismissal, he displayed great patience, a technique far simpler and more efficient than his England counterparts, and a suitability to the longest format that seems so improbable when he harks back to that "Hitman" reputation in coloured kit.