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Challenge yourself, be innovative: New ODI skipper Rohit’s advice to his players

Returning to action after recovering from a hamstring injury, Rohit hit a 51-ball 60 as India chased down 176 in 28 overs for a comfortable win in India's 1000th ODI.

By: PTI |
Updated: February 6, 2022 9:37:42 pm
India's Rohit Sharma bats during the first one day international cricket match against West Indies in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

India captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday urged his players to be innovative and challenge themselves after he began his new innings as white-ball captain with a six-wicket thrashing of the West Indies in the first ODI here.

Returning to action after recovering from a hamstring injury, Rohit hit a 51-ball 60 as India chased down 176 in 28 overs for a comfortable win in India’s 1000th ODI.

“We want to keep getting better as a team. The end goal is we should be able to achieve what the team wants. If the team requires us to do something different, we have to do it. Don’t think we have to change a lot,” Rohit said during the post-match presentation.

“All I ask from players is to keep challenging themselves and be a little more innovative and try different things, so that when situation arises guys are up for it.”

Opting to field, India reduced West Indies to 79 for 7 but Jason Holder (57 off 71) and Fabian Allen (29 off 43) managed to lift the team to a respectable 176 all out in 43.5 overs.

The hosts then made a rollicking start to the chase, amassing 84 for no loss in 13 overs before slipping to 116 for 4. However, Suryakumar Yadav (34 off 36 not out) and debutant Deepak Hooda (26 off 32 not out) took the team home.

“I don’t believe in perfect game. You cannot be perfect. All in all a great effort from everyone. We ticked all boxes. Pretty happy with that,” Rohit said.

Asked what the team could have done differently, the 34-year-old said: “With that bat we could’ve finished with not so many wickets, that is one. Could also have created pressure on their lower order.

“Don’t want to take any credit away. The way we bowled upfront and then towards the back end was good to see.”

It is a comeback match for Rohit, who missed the Test series in South Africa due to a left hamstring injury and was also subsequently forced to skip the ODIs against the Proteas.

“I’ve been off for a while, haven’t played for two months but I was back home hitting the balls. Knew there was a long season ahead. Had a good net session here. I was confident going into this game. Can take a lot of positives from this game.”

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard said his team could have been competitive with runs on board.

“Losing with 22 overs to spare is a heavy defeat. Same old for us — not being able to bat 50 overs. Have to take stock of that. We’ve got to dig deep, get better in terms of technique, myself included,” he said.

“Credit to the guys turning up. Has been difficult the last couple of days. Getting four wickets there shows if we put some runs we can compete.”

Pollard said losing the toss was a “crucial factor”.

“It’s wet out there right now. Tonight it just slid onto the bat. That’s the nature of cricket, we can’t change that.”

Adjudged player of the match for his four wicket haul, Yuzvendra Chahal said: “It felt good. Washi (Sundar) struck twice in an over so we knew pressure was on them. My job was to sustain that pressure.

“Got the feeling watching Washi bowl that the ball was gripping. Had a chat with Rohit, Virat (Kohli), they said the pace is important. My thought was that if it’s turning at pace, keep doing it.

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“Threw in a slower one here and there as a variation. I looked back at the footage from the South Africa series to see where I can improve.”

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