Bengaluru, Dec 14: After a poor series against South Africa, Rohit Sharma's place in the Indian Test side is again under scrutiny. But India's former coach John Wright wants the selectors to stick with the "match-winner" from Mumbai.
The 28-year-old Rohit managed only 26 runs in 2 Tests (4 innings) against South Africa in the recently concluded 4-match Freedom Trophy. India won the series 3-0.
The Mumbai batsman was criticised for failing with the bat. But Wright heaped praise on the right-hander.
Having worked with Rohit for 2 years at IPL team Mumbai Indians (MI) as the coach, Wright has seen him closely. Wright was the chief coach of MI in 2013 and 2014 seasons. This year he continued his association with MI, looking after talent scouting and youth development.
In his 16 Tests so far, Rohit has scored 896 runs at an average of 33.18 with 2 hundreds and 4 fifties.
"When Rohit Sharma is in full flight, he's definitely one of the most exciting players I've seen, in terms of ball striking ability with classical cricket shots," Wright said here in Bengaluru as he watched the Vijay Hazare Trophy match between Jharkhand and Kerala at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday (December 13).
"Sometimes players like Rohit, because they're so brilliant in the way that they play, because of their shot-making ability, they take more risks. His innings last year in the final won us the IPL. That innings changed the match.
"In Test cricket it's just a matter of feeling at home, feeling part of it. Particularly in India, that's a big thing. I didn't see Rohit's performances in the series (against South Africa)," the 61-year-old left-hander, who played 82 Tests and 169 ODIs, added.
The New Zealander, who was India's coach from the year 2000 to 2005, felt Indian Test team had a place for Rohit in the top six of batting.
"I'm sure there is a place for Rohit Sharma among the top six batsmen in India in any form of the game. Sometimes you've got to stick with players. The thing about playing Test cricket is you want to feel at home in the team, you don't want to be judged every time you go to the wicket, because you can't express yourself properly. I hope he succeeds at Test cricket because he adds such a lot to a side. He is a match-winner," the former Kiwi captain said.
Wright is currently on a week-long trip to Bengaluru to scout for talent for the next season of IPL for his MI side.