After beating England, an upbeat Windies team head to India in challenging times

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West Indies's skipper Kieron Pollard plays a shot during the ICC Men's Twenty20 World Cup 2021 (ANI Photo)

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
St Patrick (Antigua)
Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel has announced the men’s T20I squad for the upcoming three-match series against India.

The West Indies will visit India from February 6 to 20, where they will also play three ODIs. The three T20Is will be played at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on February 16, 18 and 20, following the three-match ODI Series which will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on February 6, 9 and 11.

Lead Selector, Desmond Haynes, said: “The team has been doing well in the Beltway T20I Series against England in Barbados and we decided to stick with the same group of players. They have demonstrated great skill and fight and we expect the same kind of performances on the tour of India.”

Jason Holder’s fifer and Akeal Hosein’s four-wicket haul helped West Indies defeat England by 17 runs in the fifth and final T20I here at the Kensington Oval on Monday. With this win, West Indies won the five-match series 3-2. Chasing 180, only James Vince got going for England with the bat as he played a 55-run knock from 35 balls. Sam Billings also chipped in with a 41-run inning, but it did not prove enough as West Indies kept on taking wickets at regular intervals.

Full squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran, Fabien Allen, Darren Bravo, Roseton Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Kyle Mayerrs, Rovman Powell, Romario Shephard, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr.

West Indies team reach Ahmedabad ahead of 3-match ODI series against India, in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Rohit-led side begins training

New Delhi: In what comes as a big respite, no new COVID-19 case has emerged on Thursday and the Rohit Sharma-led side has started training ahead of the upcoming West Indies series.

“No new COVID-19 case has been reported in the bubble and the members have started training. The players barring the positive members have started training,” the source pointed.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Wednesday added Mayank Agarwal to India’s ODI squad after seven members, including three players of Team India tested positive for COVID-19 following three rounds of RT-PCR testing.

According to BCCI, the members were asked to report in Ahmedabad on January 31, 2022, for the upcoming three-match ODI and T20I series against the West Indies. “Every member was also asked to undergo an RT-PCR test at home before embarking on their journey to Ahmedabad and the travel was undertaken only after testing negative,” BCCI said in a statement.

“Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and fast bowler Navdeep Saini’s (standby player) RT-PCR tests conducted on Monday (January 31st) have returned positive results,” it added. Fielding Coach T. Dilip and Security Liaison Officer B. Lokesh’s RT-PCR tests conducted on Monday have also returned positive results.

Meanwhile, batter Ruturaj Gaikwad’s RT-PCR test conducted on Tuesday (February 1st) has returned a positive result. He had tested negative during the first round of testing on Monday. Moreover, Shreyas Iyer and Sports Massage Therapist Rajeev Kumar’s RT-PCR tests conducted on Wednesday (February 2nd) have returned positive results. Both had tested negative in the first two rounds of testing, said BCCI.

Ahmedabad game to be played behind closed doors

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) on Tuesday confirmed that the upcoming three-match ODI series between India and West Indies will be played behind closed doors.

“Considering the current situation, all the matches will be played behind the closed doors,” the official handle of Gujarat Cricket Association tweeted.

“We are all set to host West Indies Tour of India ODI Series 2022. 1st ODI on 6th of Feb will be a very special and historic match as India will be playing it’s 1000th ODI. Indian team will be the first cricket team in the world to achieve this feat,” it added.

Earlier, the West Bengal government had given its nod to have 75 per cent crowd attendance for the upcoming three-match T20I series between India and West Indies.

All the three T20Is will be played at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

“We are thankful to the honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, chief secretary and Government of West Bengal for announcing the resumption of sporting activities as well as for allowing 75 per cent of the capacity of spectators back to the stadium,” CAB president Avishek Dalmiya said in a statement.

“We feel that it will give a fresh lease of life to the sportspersons of the state. After the New Zealand T20I last year, this time too, CAB is confident that it will be able to successfully host the three T20Is against the West Indies in a similar manner,” he added.

West Bengal okays 75% attendance in T20s

Kolkata: The West Bengal government has given its nod to have 75 per cent crowd attendance for the upcoming three-match T20I series between India and West Indies.

All the three T20Is will be played at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. “We are thankful to the honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, chief secretary and Government of West Bengal for announcing the resumption of sporting activities as well as for allowing 75 per cent of the capacity of spectators back to the stadium,” CAB president Avishek Dalmiya said in a statement.

“We feel that it will give a fresh lease of life to the sportspersons of the state. After the New Zealand T20I last year, this time too, CAB is confident that it will be able to successfully host the three T20Is against the West Indies in a similar manner,” he added.

The CAB president also said the board is also looking forward to resuming local cricket tournaments at the earliest following COVID guidelines and protocols.

“In fact, CAB has taken proactive steps to vaccinate all the players above the age of 15 years who would be participating in the CAB Leagues,” said Avishek Dalmiya.

“In this regard, it may not be out of place to mention that CAB had already organized onsite vaccination camp at Eden Gardens recently where first doses of vaccines were given to players in the age bracket of 15 to 18,” he added. CAB is set to organize another camp so that such players can avail the second dose as well before the commencement of the league.

India’s Rohit Sharma (ANI Photo)

Kohli isn’t at his best right now: Agarkar

Mumbai: Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar has said that batter Virat Kohli is not at his best right now, but it would order well for Team India if he ends up finding form sooner rather than later.

Earlier this month, Kohli stood down as India’s Test skipper a day after the country suffered a 1-2 series defeat against South Africa in the three-match series. Last year, the 33-year-old had also stepped down as T20I captain and then he was removed as the ODI leader after the selectors wanted one leader for white-ball formats. “At the end of the day you’re only successful as successful your team is and if you don’t win, it eventually doesn’t matter how great a player you are out on the field, it’s not enjoyable playing in the team,” Agarkar said on Star Sports’ show ‘Game Plan’.

“We talk about different combinations before – Virat Kohli would be a key factor because of the kind of player that he is but at the moment he isn’t at his best, which is a fact and the quicker he discovers his form it’s going to be that much easier for Rohit Sharma to then manage that thing because of what he can do on his own, Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli’s form is a concern, but we all know what a player he is. So, hopefully, he discovers his form sooner rather than later,” he added.

Kohli’s last century in international cricket came way back in November 2019 as he scored a ton against Bangladesh in the day-night Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

“From a personal and individual standpoint, you want to convert those 50s into 100s because you’ve got to save something for the rainy days as well. He’s not going through a bad patch of form, so to speak, in terms of runs, but when you see him bat, you don’t see the same Virat Kohli,” said Aakash Chopra.

“He’s not imposing, he’s not dominating, he’s still scratching around, he’s scoring those runs and that’s what all great players do – we saw Sachin, Rahul – we’ve seen them accumulate runs, but he’s (Virat Kohli) not an accumulator, he’s an enforcer but he’s not there yet. But the one thing I actually want to see, is now Rohit Sharma will have his stamp of authority and the brand of cricket that he wants to play,” he added.

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