Rohit Sharma: West Indies are very unpredictable

Updated: 11 December, 2019 09:52 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma aware of how dangerous and unpredictable West Indies can be as a T20 opponent, but reckons shrewd cricket from hosts will help clinch series-deciding tie at Wankhede Stadium today

India's Rohit Sharma during a practice session at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/ /Prakash Parsekar
India's Rohit Sharma during a practice session at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/ /Prakash Parsekar

Though there is quite a gap in the ICC T20 rankings between India and West Indies, the World No. 10-ranked side have managed to cause some jitters for the Virat Kohli-led World No. 5 team.

Going into Wednesday's final match, Kieron Pollard will aim to register West Indies's first T20I series victory after three consecutive losses, while Kohli & Co will look to continue their domination with a third successive series win over West Indies.

The jitters are due to West Indies's unpredictable nature. The visitors smashed 207-5 in the first match of the series at Hyderabad and the hosts could win that contest only due to Kohli's (94 not out) brilliance.

In the second match, West Indies mauled the Indian bowlers to chase the 171-run target with eight wickets to spare in a series-leveling performance.

India vice-captain Rohit felt sticking to plans is crucial when up against an unpredictable team. "They [West Indies] are very unpredictable, so we just got to stick to our plans, back them and believe in whatever ways [we find to] try and execute them in the middle," Rohit said on the eve of the final match.

'We aren't scared'

Recently, batting legend Brian Lara said teams are scared of West Indies in the T20 format. Rohit had a response. "I am not sure of many teams, but we are not scared of any team. Like I said, they were good on that day and won the game…as simple as that. We were not good. If we are good, we know we can win any game in any given conditions. We just need to be good at that particular time," said Rohit.

West Indies cricketers are in huge demand in T20 leagues all around the world. That's why, according to Rohit, the West Indies are a "dangerous" outfit.

"With the amount of T20 cricket that they play, obviously they are very confident in this particular format. A lot of their guys have enough exposure around the world, playing all these [T20] leagues, so that makes them a dangerous unit when it comes to batting. We just need to be thinking as if it's a good challenge to come against a team like West Indies, who have got some power-hitters all the way through," he said.

West Indies's unpredictability notwithstanding, India's problem of late have been putting up big totals. In 15 T20Is this year, India have lost seven matches; five of those defeats have come while batting first.

Worrying factor

"When you are batting first, you want to set a target. At the same time, you have to remember that you are the set batsman and you shouldn't be throwing your wicket away and things like that. Lot of things creep in when you bat first. It's a different ball game when you bat second—you have the target in front of you—you know exactly how you need to bat…the partnerships and everything," Rohit said.

Irrespective of the trend, Rohit believes in playing smart cricket. "At the end of the day, you want to play smart cricket. We believe in that. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't. But we like to back what we do as a team well, which is to play smart cricket," Rohit signed off.

India may play Mohd Shami in decider

Faced with a do-or-die situation, Team India may play its ace pacer Mohammed Shami for the T20 series-deciding match against West Indies on Wednesday. Sources in the Indian team said the decision to include Shami is to have more wicket-taking options. Shami's aggressive pace is also something Team India are keen to capitalise especially on a bouncy Wankhede pitch. However, it is not clear whether Deepak Chahar or Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be left out of the XI to accommodate Shami. There are chances that Team India may ponder over getting chinaman Kuldeep Yadav back to complement Yuzvendra Chahal for the final clash.

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India v West Indies, 3rd T20I: Star Sports 1, 1 HD, SS 1 Hindi & HD, 19:00

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First Published: 11 December, 2019 06:47 IST

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