With India’s regular opener Rohit Sharma rested for the five-match ODI series against Windies, captain Virat Kohli said the second opener’s slot will be filled by Ajinkya Rahane. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit were back together in England and opened the innings in the just concluded Champions Trophy. Rahane opened the innings in India’s first warm-up game New Zealand and batted at No. 3 in the second warm-up game against Bangladesh.
“We have Ajinkya, who we had as a back-up opener in the Champions Trophy. He will start for sure with Shikhar Dhawan. He is someone who has done well at the opener's slot.”
With hardly any turnaround time post the high-octane Champions Trophy, Virat said the relaxed atmosphere that Caribbean islands offer was just what the team needed. “It is a lovely atmosphere to be a part of after a high-profile tournament like the Champions Trophy. It is great to be in a relaxing place. All the players are relaxed and are looking forward to some cricket in the West Indies, where cricket is always enjoyed because of the way culture is here. It is pretty relaxed and you are at ease. As such, it is always a nice feeling coming here.”
Though India start the five-match series as overwhelming favorites, Virat said the team won’t take the opposition lightly and will not lower their guard. As per the ICC ODI rankings, India are ranked third while West Indies are placed ninth.
“In international cricket, every game is an opportunity for the players to go out and do something. It improves your confidence whenever you come out at the international level and play. It is not about taking any opposition lightly.
“You have to come out and play good consistent cricket. It is another series we are looking to play good cricket. I am absolutely certain that the players are committed to playing their best,” the captain added.
India squad: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rehab Pant, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk.), Yuvraj Singh, Kadar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Judea, Mohammed Shame, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Dinesh Karthik
Windies squad for the first two ODIs: Jason Holder (C), Devendra Bishoo, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shai Hope (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell, Kesrick Williams