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Rohit Returns As Captain – India vs West Indies ODI Series Preview

Rohit Sharma
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After a disappointing clean sweep in the ODI’s against South Africa, the Indian cricket team will want to get their white-ball fortunes back on track in the upcoming home series against the West Indies in Ahmedabad. Rohit Sharma returns from injury to take charge of the ODI team for the first time since his appointment as permanent captain, and here are the major talking points ahead of the three matches against the Men in Maroon.

▶ Rahul returns to the middle order


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The main consequence of Rohit Sharma returning to the side after recovering from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the South African tour is that KL Rahul slides back down to his middle-order position in the batting lineup. Rahul has played in the middle order for India in ODI’s since the start of 2020, and the wicket-keeper batter has been elite in the number five role, averaging 56 at a strike rate of 113 in 10 innings with four 50s and a century to his name. 

Rahul is a more dynamic option than Shreyas Iyer in this position for the Men in Blue due to his ability to take on both pace and spin, and a top-five of Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Pant and KL is a solid foundation for the team heading into next year’s World Cup. 

▶ The Ravi Bishnoi X-Factor


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India struggled to pick up wickets in the middle overs throughout the South Africa series last month, with Ravichandran Ashwin picking up just one wicket in the series with his off-spin. To solve this issue, team India have drafted in leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi to the squad for the West Indies series as an attacking option through the middle overs. Bishnoi has an impressive IPL record for the Punjab Kings, with 24 wickets in 23 matches at an economy rate of 6.9, and his flatter, faster trajectory mixed with his high usage of googlies could make him a more aggressive wicket-taking option for the team.

▶ Finding a new-ball partner for Jasprit Bumrah


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Team India’s biggest problem in ODI cricket since the 2019 World Cup has been the lack of wickets with the new ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who failed to pick up a single wicket in the recent South Africa series, has only picked up three powerplay scalps in 41 overs since the previous World Cup, and his poor form has led to him being dropped from the ODI squad for this series.

With Test regulars Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami also rested against the West Indies, India will have the opportunity to try some fresh faces with the new ball to compliment Bumrah in the full-strength side. Amongst the options available, Deepak Chahar is highly skilled in the powerplay with his ability to swing the ball both ways, but other pacers such as Avesh Khan and Mohammed Siraj have also impressed in recent IPL’s and could make their case for a place in the side with a strong showing in this series. 


[Featured Image Credit: ANI]