Rohit Sharma had a very good ODI series against West Indies, as he racked up two scores of over 150 in the five-match series and now will lead the Indian team in the 3-match T20I series starting November 4.
The T20I series will see India playing without their mercurial wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni, as the 2007 World T20 winner was dropped from the T20I squad in favor of young players and Rishabh Pant was given the onus of stepping up.
On the eve of the first T20I at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Rohit Sharma attended a press conference and said, "Dhoni has been such a massive player for us, over the years. His experience in the middle will be missed but again Rishabh (Pant) and Dinesh (Karthik) have great opportunity to come and perform and show what they are capable of as well. It gives them an opportunity to express themselves."
Rohit termed the three-match series as an extension of the ongoing World Cup preparation.
"We cannot go into the World Cup with limited resources. We need to have options. This gives you a great platform to try and test all these guys," Rohit said.
"It's very important because of the amount of cricket we play, at the same time we got to see what our bench strength is. The players we are talking of are possible replacements to come and fill in. We have to see the guys who are knocking the door and what they bring to the table. Not just the 15 players we got to see what is outside the 15 players we have. There are a lot of new faces in the team," he said.
Krunal Pandya and Shahbaz Nadeem have been included in the squad for the 3-match series and Rohit said, "Shahbaz Nadeem has come in the team for the first time, Krunal (Pandya) was part of the team but didn't play any games. These are the few names who have come and we got to see them what they have in their armory for us to make the best possible squad in the World Cup.”
"It has helped me overall. I have enjoyed captaincy whenever I have got an opportunity and it does bring in a sense of responsibility when you lead the side you always want to lead from the front. I do understand that more so I am a player first, then a captain. My job as a player of the squad is to go out there and do well for the team. Captaincy is something I have enjoyed for the last few years,” Rohit said about his captaincy and batsmanship.
"I am still a stand-in captain and of course whenever I have led IPL team, I have enjoyed my time. It has made me understand my game a lot better and made me understand my teammates better," Rohit added.
Rohit Sharma also spoke about the challenge of facing the two-time World T20 champions despite them missing some big names.
"They are a dangerous team. They are one of the strongest sides in the world when it comes to T20s. We have seen that in the past. The way the approach this format in particular... We cannot forget all that as a team. They have more experience. It's a format they enjoy the most and they have had a lot of success as well. They will be a strong opposition without doubt. It's not going to be easy for us just to go there and win. We have to play our best cricket to beat them. The focus will be on our team rather than what they do as a team. We do understand what they bring to the table," he signed off.