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Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma confirms opening combination for first ODI against West Indies

India news

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India will play their 1000th ODI when they host West Indies in the first of three matches in Ahmedabad on Sunday, 6 February.

After seven members of the Indian cricket team including openers Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad tested positive, there were a lot of question marks over who would open with Rohit Sharma.

Ahead of the first ODI against West Indies, India's limited-overs captain Rohit Sharma confirmed in a press conference on Saturday that Ishan Kishan will open the batting with him.

"Ishan Kishan is the only option we have and he will open with me," Rohit confirmed his opening partner during the pre-match press conference.

Apart from Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer and Navdeep Saini too tested positive for Covid-19. As a result, Ishan Kishan and Mayank Agarwal were called up for the three-match ODI series but Mayank will miss the first ODI in Ahemdabad on February 6 as he has not completed his quarantine. 

"Mayank was added in the squad and he is still in isolation. He came (joined) late and we have some rules in place. If someone is travelling, we have to put them in (mandatory 3-day) quarantine. He has still not finished his quarantine, so Ishan will open the innings,” said Rohit.

During the press conference, Rohit also reiterated that India will continue playing the same brand of cricket they did under the captaincy of Kohli. He also emphasised the importance of the brand of cricket they need to play and the different roles that each individual needs to take.

"There's not much we need to change. On certain occasions, there will be situations where we will need to change our game. Being open to doing different things at different times is a requirement and it is a talk we have had. It's not like I need to come in and change things drastically. I will be giving the players the clarity of what is expected out of them," said Rohit.

"Our ODI win percentage has been over 70% if I am not wrong. We have tried to speak to individuals about things that need to be done. It's not like you need to come in and copy other teams. We have a different setup, we play a certain way. I am open to changes in approach and have spoken to the guys about it. But, we can't change too many things,” he added. 

With Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal once again back in the Indian squad together, Rohit talked about the importance of playing them together and also told why the team had not continued playing them together for so long.

“Yeah, I think it’s going to be very crucial. We know these two guys have been great performers for us in the past and they have certainly created an impact in those years whenever they played together. But you know in the middle why they had been left out is because of the combination that we wanted to get, we wanted to get that extra batter in at times, or sometimes we wanted that extra seamer. That is probably why one of the two have missed out but it is certainly on my mind to get them back together,” Rohit said.

The three-match ODI series against West Indies will be starting on February 6 and will be followed by three matches T20I series. All the three ODIs are set to be played in Ahmedabad.

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