Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma agreed with the team’s decision to leave him out of the squad ahead of Thursday's encounter against Chennai Super Kings.

Much-like compatriot and fellow power-hitter Chris Gayle was last year, Pollard was left out of the line-up on his 35th birthday.  Instead, the team opted to go with South Africa big-hitter Tristan Stubbs on debut.

Despite it being a special day for the West Indian, few could have disagreed with the decision considering the player’s recent form.  In 11 IPL matches so far, the big West Indian has scored just 144 runs at an average of 14.40 and with a strike rate of 107.46.  The ball-striking tally is the player’s lowest since he made his debut in the IPL in 2010.

In explaining the decision, Sharma insisted the team, which is currently bottom of the IPL, has begun to contemplate its future.

"Keeping an eye on the future, Pollard is out and Stubbs is in. He (Pollard) was the one who came up to us and he was ready for it,” Rohit told Star Sport.

 “We want to try out a few players, got to see what they have to offer.”

Mumbai Indians claimed back-to-back Indian Premier League wins with a stunning final-ball success against top-of-the-table Gujarat Titans, with Daniel Sams giving up just three runs in a thrilling final over.

Ishan Kishan (45) and Rohit Sharma (43) made it a good start for Mumbai with the bat, but the IPL's bottom side suffered a succession of losses midway through their innings as they reached 177-6.

The Titans appeared to be well on their way to chasing down that target, as Wriddhiman Saha (55) and Shubman Gill (52) fired them to 106 before their first loss.

However, the Titans suffered their own middle-order collapse, with Sams eventually producing a terrific final over to deny them the nine runs they needed for victory.

Having been put in to bat, Mumbai began strongly, with their classy top-order pair holding out until the eighth over before Rohit was dismissed by Rashid Khan following a review.

While Ishan went in the 12th over, Suryakumar Yadav (13), Tilak Varma (21), and Kieron Pollard (four) struggled to make inroads as Khan recorded another wicket and two catches, before Tim David hit 44 off 21 balls to set a respectable target for the Indians, who claimed their first victory of the season last time out after losing their first eight contests.

Having watched the Mumbai top-order produce a strong display, Saha and Gill went even better until the 13th over when both fell to Murugan Ashwin, before Sai Sudharsan and Hardik went for 14 and 24 respectively as Mumbai set up a tense finale.

Having failed to take a wicket in his two previous overs, Sams took the ball for the decisive final moments, denying David Miller (19 not out) a crucial boundary with the final two balls as the Indians belied their dreadful season to limit the Titans to 172, claiming a dramatic win.

Ashwin eliminates dangermen to kick-start comeback

Ashwin's two wickets were crucial in instigating Mumbai's fightback, taking down Saha and Gill when the table-topping Titans looked certain to cruise to victory, recording his seventh and eighth wickets of the campaign.

Indians share the scoring with the bat

Neither Ishan nor Rohit have reached top form this term, averaging just 30.00 and 19.80 respectively, but their combined 88 established a foundation for Mumbai's victory, while David's quickfire 44, his highest score of the campaign, provided just enough impetus to get Mumbai over the line.

Daniel Sams blasted his first ball for six in the final over to finally give Mumbai Indians a first Indian Premier League win of the season over Rajasthan Royals on Rohit Sharma's birthday.

Mumbai had lost all eight games, but finally got up and running with a five-wicket victory at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.

Run machine Jos Buttler yet again top scored with 67 off 52 balls as the second-placed Royals posted 158-6 and that was not enough to consign the Indians to another defeat.

Suryakumar Yadav (51 from 39) laid the platform for the win and with four needed from the last over, Sams stepped up to win it on captain Rohit's 35th birthday after Kieron Pollard fell to Kuldeep Sen.

Hrithik Shokeen claimed the early wicket of Devdutt Padikkal and the Royals were 54-2 in the eight over when Sanju Samson departed.

Buttler had only 28 off as many balls halfway through Rajasthan's innings and Daryl Mitchell was also unable to get into full flow before he was removed by Sams.

The powerful Buttler had not struck a six until he exploded into life in the 16th over, disdainfully dispatching Shokeen over the ropes from four successive deliveries before he was caught in the deep off the last ball of that over.

Ravichandran Ashwin added a brisk 21 before he was dismissed by the impressive Riley Meredith (2-24) and the India spinner claimed the scalp of Rohit for two in the third over of the run chase.

Yadav and Tilak Varma (35) put 81 on for the third wicket, but departed in quick succession to Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna to leave the game in the balance.

The nerves were jangling when Mitchell caught Pollard in the deep from the first ball of the last over, but Sams launched a huge six into the leg side to raise the root and Tim David was unbeaten on 20 off nine balls.

 

Normal service resumed by brilliant Buttler 

It has been an incredible IPL for Buttler, who is comfortably the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 566 at an average of 70.75 with a strike rate of 155.06.

He struggled to get going after making eight against Royal Challengers Bangalore last time out, but brutally took Shokeen part to reach another half-century from 48 balls before departing trying to hit the spinner over the rope for a fifth time in the 16th over.

Yadav a shining light

It has been a nightmare season for Mumbai – the most successful IPL franchise – but Yadav has been a shining light.

While Rohit has been unable to register a half-century in the tournament, Yadav now has three and averages 48.33, sitting sixth on the list of the highest scorers.

Mumbai Indians' winless start to the Indian Premier League season continued, as an exceptional display from Punjab Kings' top order was enough to hold off the five-time champions

Half-centuries from Mayank Argarwal (52) and Shikhar Dhawan (70) established a commanding lead for the Kings, which Mumbai always looked unlikely to reach once Rohit Sharma went for 28. 

Dewald Brevis (49) and Suryakumar Yadav (43) both looked to spearhead an unlikely revival for Mumbai, but fell narrowly short of half-centuries as they suffered a fifth consecutive loss.

Mumbai elected to put the Kings into bat when winning the toss, but Agarwal and Dhawan struck up an excellent partnership as the Mumbai attack struggled to make headway early on.

The Kings reached 97 before Argarwal was caught by Yadav, before Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone were bowled out for 12 and two runs respectively. 

Dangerman Dhawan was finally caught by Keiron Pollard after joining Argarwal in hitting a half-century, after which a decent showing from Jitesh Sharma (30) and a mammoth haul of 28 runs in the 17th over carried the Kings to 198.

Mumbai skipper Rohit was tasked with leading the response with the bat, but their hopes of avoiding another defeat looked slim once he fell for 28, particularly once partner Ishan Kishan went for just three runs shortly after.

Brevis and Tilak Varma subsequently sought to lead a stunning response, with the former smashing four consecutive sixes in a spectacular eighth over before falling to Odean Smith when one run short of his own century.

Tilak was run out by Argarwal soon after, before Pollard suffered a calamitous run-out for just 10 at the hands of Smith as Mumbai's hopes faded.

Yadav looked to lead once last attack for the batting side, but fell for 43 in a thrilling 19th over as the Kings held on for a third victory in five IPL outings, Smith posting three wickets in a comfortable final over.

Kings duo star with the bat

Half-centuries from the Kings' top-order batsmen set them on their way to victory, with Argarwal reaching 52 and Dhawan 70 in an outstanding display, setting a target which proved beyond Mumbai after their own top-order fell in quick fashion.

Stunning finish sees Smith rack up the wickets

Smith, meanwhile, finished with a brilliant four wickets from 30 balls for the victors after accounting for the last three dismissals of the match, as Mumbai collapsed after Yadav fell in the 19th.

Ricky Ponting thinks Rishabh Pant can follow the same path as Rohit Sharma and go on to captain India after becoming an inspirational leader in the Indian Premier League.

Pant was appointed Delhi Capitals skipper ahead of the 2021 IPL with Shreyas Iyer impacted by a shoulder injury.

The India wicketkeeper-batsman retained the role on a permanent basis and will come up against Rohit when Delhi start their IPL campaign with a showdown against Mumbai on Sunday.

Capitals coach Ponting championed Rohit to be installed as Indians skipper during the former Australia captain's time with that franchise and the batter has proved to be an impressive leader - lifting the IPL trophy five times.

Rohit has also taken over from Virat Kohli as India captain and Ponting believes Pant, 24, has the credentials to have that honour.

Ponting said: "I hadn't thought about that actually but they [Pant and Rohit] are actually quite similar.

"When Rohit took over at Mumbai, he was quite a young man as well, and had started out in his international cricket.

"He was probably very similar, I'm not sure how old he was but he would have been 23-24, similar to what Rishabh is here at the Delhi Capitals.

"To tell you honestly, they're quite similar people. I know they are great mates and they talk all the time and they're probably exchanging things about leadership and captaincy along the way as well.

"Rohit probably doesn't want to give too many secrets away because we're going to play against him in a couple of days' time. I think there's every opportunity for Rishabh's journey to be similar to Rohit Sharma's.

"He's a young captain of a successful franchise and growing on a daily basis and hopefully Rishabh can have the same sort of success Rohit's had at the Mumbai Indians.

"And then with some experience in a role like this in a high-pressure tournament like the IPL, I've got no doubt in the years to come there's every chance that Rishabh could be an international captain. No doubt about it."

Virat Kohli says it feels "surreal" that he will play his 100th Test for India when they face Sri Lanka at the start of a new era on Friday.

Kohli will become the 12th man to make a century of appearances for India in the longest format when he features at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

The 33-year-old's landmark Test will be his first since he stepped down as captain and was replaced by Rohit Sharma.

Kohli brought his long reign to an end following a 2-1 series defeat in South Africa, where he was unable to end a wait for a Test century that stretches back to November 2019.

It would be fitting if the former skipper reaches three figures in his 100th Test, an achievement he did not believe would be possible.

Kohli said in an interview with BCCI.tv: "It feels surreal. I never imagined I would play 100 Tests for India. There was a time where I remember I had told myself I will do anything possible to play for India.

"Nothing could demotivate or distract me anymore. I was completely focused on getting to the top and playing for a long period. Things unfolded in a way that the journey kept on going.

"Life is unpredictable in many beautiful ways and I don't think we should put any restrictions on life in terms of how many amazing moments you can witness in the future.

"You have no idea what the future holds. It is best not to panic or get de-motivated by what might not happen because my career, my life, is an example of what is possible."

Kohli added: "I hear that crowds have been allowed as well. It's going to be a special, special morning. There will be some butterflies, I won't lie.

"There have to be butterflies till the last game you play for India."

India are unbeaten in eight Tests against Sri Lanka, a run stretching back to August 2015.

Strong favourites India have only lost one of their past 20 home Tests, that coming against England in February last year.

Dropped Pujara and Rahane leave 'big shoes to fill'

There was no place for batting stalwarts Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the India squad.

Yet new skipper Rohit says we have not seen the last of the experienced duo on the international stage, and it is down to the players who are given the nod to replace them to grasp their chance.

Rohit said: "Those are big shoes to fill. Never easy for the guys who come in. Even I don't know who is going to come in. You have to wait until tomorrow morning. But yeah, what Pujara and Rahane have done for this team, you can't put it in words.

"All these years of hard work, playing 80-90-odd Test matches, all those overseas Test victories, India getting to number one in the Test format, these guys helped us throughout and played a big part in that. There is no way they are not being looked at in the future. They will definitely be part of our plans in the future. Like the selectors also said, it is just for now that we didn't consider them. There is no guarantee, nothing written about them that they will not be considered for future series."

 

Karunaratne relishing the challenge

Sri Lanka are sitting pretty at the top of the World Test Championship table with two wins out of two.

They whitewashed West Indies 2-0 after beating Bangladesh 1-0, and although it would be a big upset if the tourists come out on top in India, Dimuth Karunaratne is relishing the challenge.

He said: "Our plans, those are secrets. We are not supposed to tell that to the press. But we do have some plans.

"We do know some youngsters are playing like [Shreyas] Iyer, Shubman Gill, those are the guys who are supposed to fill the places of Rahane and Pujara. So, we have some plans and will try to execute in the Test match as well."

Rohit Sharma surpassed Virat Kohli and Martin Guptill to become the all-time leading run-scorer in the T20I format, as India hammered a poor Sri Lanka side by 62 runs.

The world's top-ranked T20I side recorded a 10th consecutive victory in Lucknow, as they continue to build towards the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Ishan Kishan scored a majestic 89 off 56 in a superb display from India's top order saw in which the hosts reached 199-2 in their 20 overs, before Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a star turn with the ball to help wrap up a comprehensive win.

India were sent out to bat after visiting skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and racked up 50 runs in just over five overs.

Captain Rohit's (44 off 32) landmark moment arrived when he smashed Jeffrey Vandersay's delivery for six in the eighth over, as he and fellow opener Kishan toyed with the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Star man Ishan reached his half-century off just 30 balls, as the hosts passed the hundred mark before suffering their first loss of the contest, Rohit being beaten by Lahiru Kumara's delivery.

Ishan was finally caught by Janith Liyanage, with the visitors unable to claim any further wickets before the 20 overs were through. 

India were equally dominant with the ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumara struck with the first delivery to wipe out Pathum Nissanka and followed up by dismissing Kamil Mishara (13 off 12) inside three overs.

Venkatesh Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja joined the party shortly afterwards, while Yuzvendra Chahal removed Shanaka (3) for the fifth, becoming India's leading T20I wicket taker with his 67th dismissal in the format.

Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka hit 53 off 47 balls, but it was not enough to avoid a comprehensive beating for the visitors, who fell to a 1-0 series deficit.

India skipper enters the record books

Rohit Sharma took the title of all-time leading run-scorer in T20I cricket, surpassing New Zealand's Guptill and fellow India star Kohli with his haul of 44 from 32 balls.

That return takes him to a total of 3,307 runs in the T20I format, a tally he will doubt add to in the remainder of the series.

Home bowlers target records of their own

Chahal's dismissal of Sri Lanka skipper Shanaka, meanwhile, made him India' most prolific bowler in the T20I format, with 67 wickets in his 53 matches.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, meanwhile, is fourth on that list after wreaking havoc upon the Sri Lankan bowling order, claiming 57 T20I wickets since his 2012 debut.

Sanju Samson is already being talked up as a potential T20 World Cup star for India, but first he must impress against Sri Lanka.

Although Samson has played just 10 T20Is since 2015, underwhelming with a combined 117 runs, he is back in the fold again for the three-match series at home to Sri Lanka.

And the 27-year-old could be straight into the XI on Thursday, with space opening up in the middle order.

Suryakumar Yadav is out following an injury against West Indies and has not been replaced, while Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant have been rested.

That may well mean another opportunity for Samson, whose potential has captured the imagination of captain Rohit Sharma.

"His back-foot play is superb," Rohit said ahead of the first match.

"Some of the shots you might have seen in the IPL, the pick-up pull, the cut shots, standing and delivering over the bowler's head. Those kind of shots are not easy to play.

"And I believe when you go to Australia [for the T20 World Cup], you need that kind of shot-making ability.

"Samson definitely has it in him. I just wish him the best and hope that he utilises his potential to the maximum."

India have won more T20Is against Sri Lanka (14) than against any other nation; Sri Lanka have lost more against India than against any other nation.

Rohit's side will be expected to win again then, but experimentation in a World Cup year is also key.

As well as Samson's latest audition, India will take a look at their seam bowling options, with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel all in the squad.

Deepak Chahar joined Suryakumar in sustaining an injury against West Indies.

Rohit leading from the front

Rohit has been used to setting the tone for India; since the start of the 2021 T20 World Cup, no player can match his 252 powerplay runs in T20Is.

But there is added focus now in his role as captain across all three formats following Kohli's Test resignation.

As well as leading India to success, Rohit must also have a hand in guiding the team's potential future skippers.

"If you talk of Bumrah, KL [Rahul], Pant, all these guys have a big role to play in India's success," he said. "At the same time they are looked upon as leaders as well.

"They do understand what they need to do as individuals. At the same time they realise there is a responsibility on their shoulders.

"You don't want to put any pressure on these guys. They are critical to us. At the moment you want them to enjoy their game, come out freely, and execute their skills."

COVID hits Hasaranga

India's task is set to be made easier after ESPNcricinfo revealed Wanindu Hasaranga has returned another positive coronavirus test, his second this month.

Hasaranga's status for the series as a whole is now in serious doubt.

Since the start of the previous T20 World Cup, his 21 wickets in the format lead all bowlers.

Rohit Sharma was appointed as India's permanent Test captain, as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dropped for the series against Sri Lanka. 

Virat Kohli stepped down as skipper following the 2-1 series defeat to South Africa in January, which saw India slip from first to third in the ICC Test rankings. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Saturday that recently appointed white-ball captain Rohit would also take on the Test duties, starting with the two matches against Sri Lanka in March. 

There was no place in the squad for Pujara or Rahane, however. Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha were also overlooked. 

The quartet will instead contest the Ranji Trophy – India's domestic first-class cricket championship – in a bid to rediscover their form. 

Ravindra Jadeja was included after recovering from injury and Ravichandran Ashwin was named as part of five-spinner attack despite being a fitness concern. 

The Test series will follow a three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka that starts on Thursday. 

Sanju Samson joined Jadeja in returning from injury for that squad, while Kohli and Rishabh Pant were rested. 

Jasprit Bumrah was welcomed back into the fold after being rested for the home limited-overs series against West Indies and received the vice-captaincy for both formats. 

 

India Test squad: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, KS Bharat, Jasprit Bumrah, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Saurabh Kumar, Priyank Panchal, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav.

India T20 squad: Rohit Sharma, Ravi Bishnoi, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Avesh Khan, Ishan Kishan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Sanju Samson, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav.

India have taken a 1-0 T20I series lead over the West Indies after a six-wicket victory in Wednesday's first test in Kolkata.

It was not always plain sailing for India, but in the end they closed out a comfortable victory that owed much to captain Rohit Sharma, debutant Ravi Bishnoi and Suryakumar Yadav.

West Indies had earlier reached 157-7 over their 20 overs, an innings that began poorly as Brandon King fell for just four to Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-31) in the first over – though Kyle Mayers (31) and Nicholas Pooran (61) soon found the tourists some momentum.

After their respective wickets, West Indies really struggled to build up a head of steam again. Bishnoi (2-17) claimed the scalps of Roston Chase (four) and Rovman Powell (two) as the 21-year-old enjoyed a miserly outing on his debut.

Kieron Pollard (24 not out) at least restored a little dignity, but he had little help around him, thus setting India a reachable target.

Rohit's 40 off 19 gave India the start they needed, and Ishan Kishan (35 off 42) proved a solid – if pragmatic – partner until both were undone by Chase's (2-14) bowling.

Fabian Allen (1-23) and Sheldon Cottrell (1-35) then saw to Virat Kohli (17) and Rishabh Pant (eight), respectively, with both batsmen feeling somewhat aggrieved by the decisions.

But any suggestion of West Indies still having a chance were emphatically washed away by Suryakumar (34 not out) and Venkatesh Iyer (24 not out), who eased the hosts over the line at 162-4 with seven balls to spare.

Bishnoi makes his mark

Bishnoi initially looked nervous, throwing three wides in his first over. But he quickly adjusted his focus, posting impressive numbers as he dismissed Chase and Powell.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "The nerves are settled now. I was feeling very good, it's everyone's dream to play for India and I was feeling good. West Indies is one of the best T20 teams and I got the chance to play against them. I'll try to cut down on the wides in the next match!"

Pooran's efforts in vain

Were it not for Pooran's efforts, this would have been an even worse start to the three-match series for the Windies. His 61 with the bat was undoubtedly the highlight of their innings, with Pollard very aware that his side were otherwise disappointing.

Pollard said: "Getting down to the 19th over was good on the part of the bowlers. If I'm being honest, between overs six to 15 we scored too few runs. We were 15-20 runs short."

Rohit Sharma declared "experimentation is overrated" ahead of India's three-match T20 International series against West Indies.

With another T20 World Cup on the horizon in Australia this year, India and the Windies are determined to show what they are capable of after failing in the 2021 tournament.

Rohit led India to a 3-0 ODI clean sweep of West Indies this month and their expectant supporters will be demanding another whitewash.

India have won eight of their past nine matches against the Windies in the shortest format heading into the series-opener at Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

Washington Sundar and KL Rahul miss out due to hamstring injuries, while Axar Patel will not feature in the series as he is in the final stage of his rehabilitation after recently recovering from coronavirus.

Skipper Rohit is no mood to experiment as he looks to continue the white-ball momentum.

He said: "I feel the word experimentation is overrated, in my terms. We are trying to find those holes that are there in the squad and try and fill that gap. So whatever it takes, we will try and do that.

"All these guys [the fringe players] are very young and haven't played a lot of cricket. We need to give them the assurity and the game time.

"Once we have that, then we can try out things. Until then, whatever little holes we have in our squad, we have to try and fill that."

The Windies were outplayed in the 50-over format, but beat England 3-2 in a thrilling T20I series on home soil last month and named an unchanged squad to face India.

 

Rohit backs Kohli 

It is over two years since Virat Kohli score an international hundred, but Rohit says the former captain should not be questioned. 

The opener said: "If you guys [the media] can keep quiet for a while, I think he'll be alright. We don't need to do too much talking from your side, then everything will be taken care of. He is in a great mental space from whatever I see of him.

"He has been part of this international team for more than a decade. If someone has spent that much time in international cricket, they know how to handle the pressure situations, the environment, everything. It all starts from you guys. If you guys can keep it quiet for a bit, then everything will fall into place."

Pollard fit to lead tourists

Kieron Pollard was an injury doubt after suffering a niggle in the ODI series, but the captain confirmed he will be fit for the start of this series.

Pollard will be hoping former skipper Jason Holder can conjure up more heroics after his stunning exploits with the ball in the decider against England in Barbados last month.

The all-rounder took four wickets in as many balls in the final over to finish with figure of 5-27.

Rohit Sharma enjoyed a brilliant start to life as India's ODI captain in a dominant six-wicket defeat of West Indies on Sunday.

Rohit was named skipper in December but only now, in the series opener in Ahmedabad, has he been able to lead his side due to a hamstring injury.

It was worth the wait, however, as India cruised to victory in their 1,000th ODI, aided by 60 runs from 51 balls from Rohit.

That knock, which included 10 fours and a six, set the tone for a straightforward chase after West Indies had been bowled out for 176.

Even that modest total required some heavy lifting from Jason Holder, whose 57 improved markedly on a woeful 7-79 start after the Windies skipper survived a scare.

Holder could have been the victim of a hat-trick ball from Yuzvendra Chahal (4-49), but his inside edge fell short of short leg.

Chahal's fellow spinner Washington Sundar – returning for his second ODI more than four years after his first – finished with 3-30 to help ensure a straightforward target for Rohit and Co.

An opening partnership of 84 with Ishan Kishan took any jeopardy out of the situation, as India comfortably made 178-4 in 28 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Holder reaches milestone in attempted rescue act...

A stunning spell from Chahal, whose four wickets took him to 103 in 60 ODIs (the fifth-fastest India bowler to 100), had West Indies in all sorts of trouble, but it also brought Holder out into the middle.

The captain led the way as the tourists belatedly showed some fight, making 57 to pass 2,000 ODI runs (2,011) and become the fifth West Indies player to reach that mark along with 100 wickets in this format. Holder has 141 ODI wickets but could not add to that tally.

But both innings belong to opposite number Rohit

There is little doubting Rohit's ability with the bat, and the opener's 60 took him past Sachin Tendulkar (1,573) onto 1,583 ODI runs against West Indies, with only Virat Kohli (now 2,243) scoring more for India.

The full-time captaincy role is a new one, however, and Rohit was just as impressive in that sense. Rewarded for putting his faith in the spinners, the skipper also had three successful reviews from three to account for Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran and Shamarh Brooks.

Rohit Sharma takes charge of India for a milestone ODI against West Indies on Sunday, saying the team "have to change" as his tenure as captain begins in earnest.

India have lost their last four ODIs, after slumping to a 3-0 series defeat to South Africa in January, with Rohit forced to miss the games against the Proteas due to a hamstring injury.

The opening batsman was appointed India's ODI skipper in December, taking over from Virat Kohli, but he has yet to feature for his country since then.

Now his chance to stamp a mark on the team has arrived, and Rohit said it would be "the same template" rather than anything radical that he brings to the leadership, but it is clear this is a flexible template.

A three-match ODI series awaits, with matches being played on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, all at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, ahead of a three-game T20I tussle in Kolkata.

At the age of 34, Rohit is seen as a wise tactician, a safe pair of hands for the coming years, and he has no designs of being a radical skipper.

"We are a good team and have good players. It's just that on certain occasions, there will be situations presented in front of us where we have to change our game a little bit," he said.

"We have to change our game, there is no doubt about that. Adaptability and being open to different things at different points is what we have spoken of."

He explained: "We have played good ODI cricket over the course of a few years – more than a few years, actually.

"Suddenly a loss of a series doesn't mean there's a panic that we need to create. It's just the certain understandings, certain learnings that we need to take into our game.

"The South Africa series was a great learning [experience] for us as to what we didn't do collectively as a team."

India's 1,000th ODI arrives on Sunday. They will become the first men's team to reach that mark and have won 518 matches in the format to date (L431 T9 NR41) – only Australia have won more such games (581).

Rohit will be partnered at the top of the India order by Ishan Kishan, with COVID-19 positive tests sidelining both Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad, while Mayank Agarwal, called up to add another option, is in the quarantining stage as he joins the team bubble.


A tangled history

India have won seven of their last eight men's ODIs against West Indies; however, it has been a different story at the venue for this series. In fact, West Indies have won four of the five ODIs they have played against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

India's lone win came in November 2002. The latest meeting of the teams at this ground took place in 2011, so although there is a historical record of West Indies dominance, it would be a stretch to point to this as particularly relevant to this series... unless, of course, West Indies rout India, then wise heads can say they saw it coming.

That seems unlikely, though. India have won nine of their last 10 bilateral home men's ODI series (L1), including the last three. Their lone defeat in this period was a 3-2 loss to Australia in March 2019. The last time West Indies triumphed against India, in India, in a bilateral ODI series was a 4-3 success in November 2002.

Can Holder dazzle again for West Indies?

West Indies are fresh from beating England 3-2 at home in a T20I series, so their morale is high. Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls in the final over of the series decider stands him in good stead, and the former captain will have another achievement in his sights. 

Holder, who has 141 ODI wickets, needs 46 more runs with the bat to reach 2,000 in ODI cricket. It would make him the fifth man to register 2,000 runs and 100 wickets for West Indies in the format.

India captain Rohit Sharma has been passed fit to lead the team for the upcoming series against the West Indies in February.

The 34-year-old batsman is only just recovering from injury, having missed out on the team’s most recent tour of South Africa, which ended in a disappointing 3-0 loss.

According to reports, the batsman is already back in training and will be ready to go for the T20 and perhaps ODI series.  The series will get underway on February 6th, while the T20 series gets underway on February 16th.  Rohit is recovering from a left hamstring injury.  In the past, the player has captained India vs the West Indies in three matches in 2018.  India won the series 3-0.  Overall, in 17 T20Is India has won 10 and lost 6.

"Rohit is fit and available for the series against the West Indies," a BCCI source was quoted as saying.

"By the time the West Indies series starts, it will be more than seven and half weeks of rehabilitation and recuperation for Rohit.

The West Indies are expected to head to India immediately after the England tour.

 

 

India's chief selector Chetan Sharma has insisted Virat Kohli was asked to reconsider his decision to step down as the team's T20I captain.

Kohli confirmed before the T20 World Cup that he would leave his role as India skipper in the shortest format, though he does intend to carry on playing in the team.

The 33-year-old also believed he would continue as ODI and Test captain. However, he is now only the skipper for red ball matches, with Rohit Sharma leading the side in limited overs games.

Rohit, however, will not skipper India's white ball side in South Africa, with the batsman missing out due to a hamstring injury, with KL Rahul instead named as captain for the three-match ODI series.

Rahul has never led India before in any format, though he will at least be able to call on the experience of Kohli, who has been included in the 18-man squad and led India to victory in the first Test this week.

While announcing the squad at a news conference on Friday, Chetan was asked if Kohli's claims that he had not been asked to reconsider his decision were true, with those comments having contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's previous claim.

"When the meeting started, it was a surprise for everybody," Chetan said.

"Because the World Cup is upon you and you hear this news, what will be the reaction of a normal person?

"Everyone who was present in the meeting asked him to reconsider, to rethink; 'We can talk about this after the World Cup'. All the selectors felt this could affect the performance in the World Cup.

"It was told to Virat for the sake of Indian cricket to please continue as captain. It was told to him by everybody available in the meeting. Everybody said that.

"Who will not say that when you hear such news? You will be in shock. What will be your instant reaction? It was a matter of the World Cup.

"We thought let's talk after the World Cup. We told Virat the World Cup is upon us, and everybody requested let's talk after the World Cup.

"But he has his plans. We have to respect his decision. If someone has taken a decision, and he said in the media also, that he was thinking [along these lines] from the time of WTC, but at that time everybody told him to think about it."

Jasprit Bumrah will act as vice captain against the Proteas, while R Ashwin earned a recall for the first time since 2017 and Venkatesh Iyer received his maiden ODI call up.

The ODIs take place on January 19, 21 and 23.


India's squad in full:  KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj.

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