Rohit Sharma, who will lead India in the upcoming T20I series against Windies, believes the absence of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni gives an opportunity to the youngsters to make a mark for themselves.
Barring the last two ODIs, the way Windies fared in the ODI series, one thing is clear that India will have their task cut against the reigning World T20 champions. What has further made the task tougher for the hosts is the absence of two of their most experience players – Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.
India’s record against Windies in T20Is is not great either. The two-time WorldT20 winners have a five-two record from eight exchanges against India. India failed to overcome Brathwaite’s men in their last four encounters and the Windies ended the home team’s campaign in the 2016 T20I World Cup, defeating them in the semi-final. India’s last win against West Indies came way back on March 23, 2014 in the WorldT20 in Bangladesh.
With history and stats backing the visitors, India will be desperately missing the services of their stalwarts Kohli and Dhoni. But amidst all this, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma sees Kohli and Dhoni’s absence as a blessing in disguise.
“Dhoni has been such a massive player for us, without a doubt and his experience in the middle will be missed. But it gives an opportunity to youngsters to come and do well. All these guys who are in the team have done well in IPL and domestic circuit and that’s why they are in the squad. We need to see what they bring to the team. Now Rishabh (Pant) and Dinesh (Karthik) have the opportunity to come and perform,” Sharma told reporters on the eve of the first T20I in Kolkata.
“There needs to be a balance between playing and resting players. This sort of a series gives you an opportunity to give the seniors rest, and youngsters a chance to perform. So giving rest to players is totally necessary,” he added.
He further said that the uncapped players like Shahbaz Nadeem and Krunal Pandya also have an opportunity to prove themselves before the next year’s World Cup.
“We have to look at the guys who are knocking at the team’s door, and what they bring to the table. Looking at the World Cup, we should not only be sure of our 15 members but the ones on fringes also. New guys like Shahbaz Nadeem and Krunal Pandya who are in the series have an opportunity to do well. He (Pandya) was there in the previous series too but didn’t get a game, so let’s see how he does here.”
As far as Rohit’s captaincy record is concerned, he boasts a stunning track record. In his first assignment, he led India to ODI and T2oI series wins over Sri Lanka at home last year. In his next assignment as captain, India won the Nidahas Trophy. Rohit’s last assignment as captain saw him leading India to a record seventh Asia Cup title.
Having tasted so much success in his short captaincy career, Rohit will be confident of doing well again. However, the opener is not getting carried away and is aware of the threat Windies possess.
“Windies are a dangerous team as they are the defending champions of World T20. They are undoubtedly one of the strongest in this format. We have seen in this in the past that they have a completely different approach to this format of the game. So keeping their strength in mind, we need to do what we do best. Also I think we have the same quality in our attack. It should be a great contest, this series,” he said.
The first match of the series will be held at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday (November 4).