India might be without the services of skipper Virat Kohli and the veteran MS Dhoni for the T20 series against the West Indies beginning Sunday, but stand-in captain Rohit Sharma believes that it's for the good of the team. For him, not only does this give an opportunity to the youngsters to make a mark for themselves in the team before the World Cup next year but also provides some much-needed rest to the ones who miss out.
"Dhoni has been such a massive player for us, without a doubt and his experience in the middle will be missed. But it gives an opportunity to youngsters to come and do well. All these guys who are in the team have done well in IPL and domestic circuit and that's why they are in the squad. We need to see what they bring to the team. Now Rishabh (Pant) and Dinesh (Karthik) have the opportunity to come and perform," Sharma told reporters on the eve of the first T20I in Kolkata.
"There needs to be a balance between playing and resting players. This sort of a series gives you an opportunity to give the seniors rest, and youngsters a chance to perform. So giving test to players is totally necessary."
India is certainly looking at a few youngsters before the World Cup and have drafted in the likes of Shahbaz Nadeem and Krunal Pandya, both of whom are yet to make their debut, in the team. To this skipper said, "We have to look at the guys who are knocking at the team's door, and what they bring to the table. Looking at the World Cup, we should not only be sure of our 15 members but the ones on fringes also. New guys like Shahbaz Nadeem and Krunal Pandya who are in the series have an opportunity to do well. He (Pandya) was there in the previous series too but didn't get a game, so let's see how he does here."
In Kohli's absence, in the recent times Sharma has been given the responsibility to lead the side and has done well in the limited chances he has gotten as a captain. He wants to do well in the upcoming series too and doesn't want to take Windies lightly in T20s.
"Windies are a dangerous team as they are the defending champions of World T20. They are undoubtedly one of the strongest in this format. We have seen in this in the past that they have a completely different approach to this format of the game. So keeping their strength in mind, we need to do what we do best. Also I think we have the same quality in our attack. It should be a great contest, this series.
With the likes of Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell returning to the team, Rohit said, "Not just those two guys but all the team has a lot of experience in this format. Just like our league (IPL), they have their own league (CPL). So this is the format they enjoy the most and have successful as well. It's not going to be easy for us to emerge victorious here. We have to play our best cricket and not concentrate on the opposition."
Post the Windies assignment, India face the mighty Australians in their backyard, but Rohit is only focused on the task in hand.
"We are not looking too far ahead. For now we have to concentrate on this series and win it, and then think about Australia. We want to win all the games and every tournament that we play," he signed off.