New Delhi: Rohit Sharma and David Warner are among two of the top opening batsmen in the world in contemporary cricket. However, both players did not set out as opening batsmen early in their careers. While Rohit batted in the middle-order before the 2013 Champions Trophy, Warner was a lower-order batsman who also bowled as a leg-spinner before he set out on his international career.
Warner on Friday spoke about the first time he opened an innings for his domestic side in an Instagram live video chat with Rohit. “It was bizarre, I was in the middle-order, sort of coming in at the back end of the innings. In 2009, Dominic Thornely was captain of New South Wales and Philip Hughes was opening when I was suddenly told that I am opening,” he said.
“After that I just let my bowling go, and before I knew it I was walking out at the MCG in front of 80,000 people against South Africa.”
While Warner has rarely ever bowled in his professional career, Rohit said that he used to bowl a lot early, even getting a hat-trick in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before he sustained a finger injury.
“I remember they were all good batsmen,” said Rohit talking about the hat-trick. He was playing for Deccan Chargers against his current side Mumbai Indians in the 2009 season of the IPL and dismissed Abhishek Nayyar, Harbhajan Singh and a well-set JP Duminy.
Both play for sides that have players considered the best in the world in Test cricket in Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. “People say Kohli and Smith are the best in the world,” said Warner. “But we make Smith and Kohli because we take the shine off the ball. We have got an important job as openers.”
The pair also spoke about what it’s like opening the batting with Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch. Warner plays with Dhawan at Sunrisers Hyderabad and opens battng with Finch in limited-overs cricket for Australia while Rohit and Dhawan have formed one of the most destructive opening pairs in limited-overs cricket over the years.
The pair said that both Finch and Dhawan are similar in the way that they prefer not facing the first ball.
“In 2013, my second game as an opener in the Champions Trophy. I told Shikhar we are playing against South Africa, I’ve never faced Morne Morkel or Dale Steyn with the new ball so you have to take strike.
“He says no, you are more experienced, this is my first tour here and you should take strike. Here is an opener who did not want to take strike. And I could not even see the first three balls from Morkel. I did not expect that much pace or bounce,” said Rohit.
Warner said: “Finchy tells me that against left handers I have to open because he doesn’t want the ball coming into him. But I also don’t want the ball going away from me!”