Rohit Sharma Backs West Indies to Bounce Back…

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By Prior Beharry

INDIA captain Rohit Sharma says he is “pretty sure” West Indies can bounce back in the historic 100th Test between the two nations starting on Thursday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

This after the visitors beat the Windies by an innings and 141 runs in three days at Windsor Park in Dominica in the first Test of the two-match series last week.

Speaking to the media just before his training session at the Oval on Tuesday, Sharma said it was an honour to be leading the Indian team into the historic Test.

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He said, “The two teams have so much history between them so much good cricket between them, at times one team has come (out) on the top of the other so that is what we gotten to see in the 100 Test matches (sic) that these two teams have played so I will expect no different in this Test match as well.

“I am pretty sure the team (West Indies) is going to bounce back, they have a pretty good team. It is going to be very exciting for both countries going forward and playing this 100th Test match.”

India captain Rohit Sharma

Asked if there was anything special in the India camp going into the Test, Sharma said Tuesday was Ishan Kishan’s birthday. He turned 25.

He said, “They all understand the importance of this test match. It is not every day that you get to play this historic game so I am pretty sure that everyone is excited.

“So once we get into the Test match, it is all about getting the job done and I am pretty sure that is what the guys will be focused on.”

Speaking later to the media and commenting on the historic Test, West Indies head coach Andre Coley said both teams had a fantastic history playing against each other.

Coley said, “We have partnered to develop and expose the game in different environments.”

West Indies Head Coach Andre Coley

Asked about the disappointing West Indies team performances in the past few weeks when they did not qualify for the first time ever for the World Cup and lost the first Test to India, Coley said, “West Indies brand is still a popular brand. The world enjoys when we play at our best and yes we have had some disappointments in the recent weeks and months but it is an opportunity for us to do better.”

And how is the West Indies team going to regroup after a disappointing first Test, he said they must have confidence.

Former West Indies captain Brian Lara, left, with India cricketer Virat Kohli at the Queen’s Park Oval on Tuesday

Coley said, “Belief in yourself as individuals and having a clear plan and sticking to it and staying in the moment.

“As the game unfolds we are going to be asked different questions. How we respond to the different situations is important, but at the same time at each stage if we have clarity about how we are going to go about things, we back that completely while being smart.

“There is no reason why we cant’t give a good account of ourselves.”

He said no team knew how the pitch in the first Test would have played, but as it unfolded, it became a spinning track that obviously favoured India.

Ravichandran Ashwin ended with 12 overs in the game as he usually operated in tandem with Ravindra Jadeja.

India skipper Rohit Sharma speaking to members of the media. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed

Asked about the now iconic pair of Ashwin and Jadeja who have emulated and may surpass the successes of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, Coley admitted that the current-playing duo have achieved a lot in all formats of the games.

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But, he said, “We’re not going out there to play names. Milestones are important for everyone, we have players in our team as well who have an opportunity to also create milestones for themselves.

“So it’s really about what happens in the moment and making sure we are confident and we have self-belief in how we go about things.”

He said it was about summing up the conditions and working out the scoring options when they were batting.

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Will a slow wicket favour India at the Oval as it did at Windsor and over the years, Coley said history would show that if one combined both teams the majority of the wickets were taken by the quicks.

Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair replaces Raymon Reifer in the West Indies Squad and Coley said they were monitoring Rahkeem Cornwall’s chest congestion which kept him off the field for some time during the first Test.


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