After the humiliation in South Africa, can Team India raise its game at home?

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India's Virat Kohli plays a shot during the 3rd ODI match against South Africa, at Newlands, in Cape Town (ANI Photo)

WEST INDIES IN INDIA
Rohit Sharma is back to lead the team; Former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri suggests that Virat Kohli can play the next three-four years as a gun player if he takes a break from a series for two or three months

Our Bureau
Mumbai

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced a change in venues for the upcoming West Indies’ Tour of India. The three ODIs will now be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad and three T20Is will be held at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. “The decision to limit the series to two venues instead of six as originally announced has been done to mitigate biosecurity risks by cutting down on travel and movement of the teams, match officials, broadcasters, and other stakeholders,” stated an official BCCI release.

On January 19, it was reported that the upcoming series between India and West Indies will be played across just two venues — Ahmedabad and Kolkata. The series will kick start on February 6 and will end on February 20.

In an important development, India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma returned while spinner Ravi Bishnoi received his maiden call up as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday picked an 18-member squad for the upcoming ODI and T20I series against the West Indies.

Team India are set to play three ODIs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from February 6 followed by the T20I series at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata from February 16. “The All-India Senior Selection Committee has picked an 18-member squad for the upcoming Paytm ODI and T20I series against the West Indies. Team India are set to play three ODIs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from 6th February followed by the T20I series at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata from 16th February,” BCCI said in a statement.

Also, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami have been rested from the series while KL Rahul will be available from the second ODI onwards. Deepak Hooda has also been named in India’s ODI squad for the West Indies series.

Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja is undergoing his final stage of recovery post his knee injury and will not be available for the ODIs and T20Is and Axar Patel will be available for the T20Is.

Reacting to the move, former Indian pacer Madan Lal said he is happy with Rohit Sharma’s comeback into the ODI and T20I against West Indies and hopes that he is fit to play. “Definitely Rohit Sharma’s comeback is a good thing. I hope he is fully fit because we need him at no 1 and no 2 because in ODIs and T20Is, the first ten overs are very crucial to win the match and Rohit Sharma is a master of that position. He has also scored a lot of runs. So, it is a good thing that he is making a comeback,” Madan Lal said.

“You are selected because you have performed in One Day matches or T20 matches. This is an opening for Ravi Bishnoi. I wish him luck because he is a good bowler. Whatever I have seen of him in the IPL that his ball can turn and skid as well. He is also known as a good fielder. So, we need to give chances to youngsters and we need to introduce one or two youngsters on a regular basis,” he added.

The former pacer further said that the selectors have made the right decision by dropping Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“Selectors have taken the right decision in dropping Bhuvneshwar Kumar because he is not performing. I am surprised why he is in T20s also. I think selectors have given him a new lease of life because when you are performing, then only you get a long rope. You need to perform if you are given a long rope,” said the former pacer.

West Indies’s skipper Kieron Pollard (ANI Photo)

“If you are not a match-winner for the team, then selectors will pick someone else like Avesh Khan as he has performed really well. He is a very talented youngster ND I think selectors have done really right thing. It is up to him on how he performs now,” he added.

Also, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has congratulated Deepak Hooda on being named in India squad for the upcoming ODI series against West Indies, beginning February 6.

“You came out of a tough phase, you kept fighting, kept performing. So proud @HoodaOnFire, congratulations. Make the most of it. Congratulations to Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh khan too. #INDvWI,” tweeted Pathan. India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma returned while spinner Ravi Bishnoi received his maiden call up as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday picked an 18-member squad for the upcoming ODI and T20I series against the West Indies.

Meanwhile, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel has announced the senior men’s squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against India.

The West Indies will visit the sub-continent from February 6 to 20, where they will also play three T20Is. The ODIs will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on February 6, 9, and 11. These matches form part of the ICC ODI Super League and the West Indies will have the opportunity to win points to be one of the top seven teams, excluding hosts India, to gain automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

The T20Is will be played at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on February 16, 18, and 20, with the squad expected to be announced on Friday.

Kemar Roach, the experienced fast bowler; Nkrumah Bonner, the middle-order batter, and Brandon King, the opening batter, have been recalled to the squad. Roach has so far played 92 ODIs with 124 wickets. Bonner made his ODI debut in Bangladesh a year ago and has so far played three matches, while King has so far played four matches in this format.

Lead Selector, Desmond Haynes, said: “Kemar Roach is one of our leading fast bowlers and we believe we need bowlers upfront to get an early wicket, and Kemar, with an economy rate of five, is certainly good enough to play. Over the last few years, Nkrumah Bonner’s cricket has come on leaps and bounds and we believe he should be given an opportunity to play in the 50-over format.”

Haynes added: “We want to have competition for places. We want to reach a stage where we have a lot of players fighting for positions. We want to broaden the pool of players we have to choose from. The team we have selected is a very good side and we are looking at this tour as part of the preparations for the World Cup in India in 2023.”

In another development, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has suggested that Virat Kohli can play the next three-four years as a gun player if he takes a break from a series for two or three months.

Kohli had stepped down as the Test skipper after India suffered a Test series loss against South Africa. He holds the record for most Test appearances as India Test captain (68) and he also holds the record for most Test wins by an Indian captain (40). Shastri wants Kohli to calm down and focus on his batting. He feels the former India skipper has five years of “good” cricket left in him.

“He realizes he is 33, he realizes he has five years of good cricket ahead of him. If he can calm down, focus on his batting, take one game at a time, probably take a break from the game as well. I think if he sits out for two or three months or takes a break for a series, it would do him a world of good,” Shastri told Shoaib Akhtar on the former Pakistan pacer’s YouTube channel.

“To come back and play those three-four years as king, absolute king. You know where he is clear mentally, knows exactly what his job and role are, and then plays as a team player, that’s where I want to see Virat Kohli now. To come, contribute big time as a team player and help the team win,” he added.

The leadership also brought out the best in Kohli and it saw the batter registering seven double-centuries in the longest format of the game. Kohli also holds the record for scoring most Test centuries (20) as India captain.

India ODI squad
Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan

India T20I squad
Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel. West Indies squad
Kieron Pollard (c), Kemar Roach, Nkrumah Bonner, Brandon King, Fabien Allen, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shephard, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr.

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