There is no doubt that Rohit Sharma is a prodigy. As an opener he has been absolutely outstanding, and has broken several records. In this decade, he has been among the best openers in limited overs cricket; an average of 57.26 since 2013 shows his class.
Most importantly, Rohit makes for a fantastic trio with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli.
But while Rohit has been exemplary in the opening position, by nature he is a middle order batsman. And looking at the current ODI side, if he bats in the middle order then it could be extremely beneficiary for the team.
Here are three reasons why Rohit the middle order batsman can be a better choice for the Indian ODI side than Rohit the opener:
#1 Ability to hit sixes from Ball 1
In recent times, India have been below-par when it comes to finishing the innings on a high. With MS Dhoni's hard-hitting skills having declined, the team has been left with only the youngsters to do the job.
Rohit's six-hitting ability is beyond reproach. He has hit 215 sixes so far in his ODI career, ranked at number five in the list of most sixes in ODI cricket.
As an opener, he takes times against the new ball before unleashing his repertoire of shots. But as a middle-order batsman, he could be devastating straightaway against a weary ball.
Rohit has repeatedly shown the ability to hit the best of the bowlers out of the park with ease. In the death overs, when the opposition bowlers try to block the batsmen, the value of an experienced hard-hitter can't be overstated.
Rohit could also be the perfect guide for young finishers batting around him in the death overs.
#2 Chance for deserving openers to get into the playing XI
Since Rohit became an opener, he has seized the spot with his brilliance. He has not allowed the selectors to even think about other options for the role.
That has meant that talented openers like KL Rahul, who have been craving for a place at the top, have been compelled to bat in alien positions. As a result, their careers haven't taken off the way they would have wanted to.
With Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal also making a strong case for themselves in domestic cricket, if Rohit continues to bat as an opener, it could lead to another talent waiting around for his place in the side. Such a scenario can hurt India in the long run as frustrated young openers might not achieve what they are destined to get.
Since Rohit is close to 32, it will be better for the team to pull him down in the order and use the talents of Rahul, Agarwal and Shaw at the top.
#3 India's power-play woes
Rohit Sharma is an opener who does stress about making use of the power-play as he prefers to take his time and rely on his ability to compensate in the end. This strategy has been a risky one, because when Rohit fails to score big, it leaves India's run-rate struggling.
In modern day cricket, all teams possess swashbuckling openers in their rank. A quickfire start to the innings is always a boon. Having Rohit as an opener is a drawback for Team India on this front.
If Rohit plays in the middle order, it would cure all the glaring problems with the Indian set-up. It will allow the deserving flamboyant openers to get into the team who will provide India a dazzling start; it will give India an experienced hard-hitter in the middle-order; it will solve India's power-play deficiencies.