India captain Rohit Sharma didn’t mark the most pleasant of returns to the cricket field, departing for a single-digit score on Day 1 of the first Test against South Africa. Rohit attempted a pull shot, arguably his most decorated stroke, against Kagiso Rabada but found a fielder instead of clearing the ropes. When India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour was asked about Rohit’s dismissal in the press conference after the end of play on the first day, he gave a passionate defence of the skipper.

“Rohit, I mean, I have spoken about it earlier as well. This is the shot he believes in, this is the shot he scores a lot of runs with. This is his shot. So, he is going to play this shot,” Rathour told the press in Centurion after the frist day’s play.

“Some days, it will come off. Some days, it won’t. So today, it didn’t. We can talk about it. On another day, he will hit for a six and everybody will say this is the shot he plays really well. We have heard people say he is the best puller in the world. He believes in it. We are okay, as a team management we are backing it,” he added.

Rathour showered praise on middle-order batter KL Rahul and said that he is a man of crisis. Speaking at the post-day press conference, Rathour said that every time India suffered Rahul prevailed to take India in a better place. He added that Rahul was very clear with his plans against South Africa and did what he wanted to do.

“He is a man of crisis. Every time there is a tough situation most of the times he is there. He is very clear with his game plans what he wanted to do,” Rathour said.

Talking about the conditions in Centurion, he further added that it was a “challenging surface to bat” especially due to the rainy weather.

The batting coach added that they would love to have more runs on the scoreboard after the end of the first day. However, he added that the visitors did “reasonably well” against the Proteas on day one.

“It was always going to be a challenging surface to bat on because the weather was there, the wicket was undercover for a day or more than that. We would love to have a couple of more wickets on our hands at the end of the day but we did reasonably well, we have runs on board,” he added.

Talking about Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer, he praised the two batters and said that they played a crucial recovery partnership after India lost three wickets.

“The condition was tough. After losing three wickets, it was a good recovery partnership from Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer, they both have played well,” he added.

With ANI inputs

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