India won’t go ballistic from ball one but the batters are expected to carry their fearless approach from the shortest format to the ODIs when the three-match series against England begins here on Tuesday. India’s high-risk play helped them win the series against England and considering that the ODIs have become an extension of the shortest format, skipper Rohit Sharma sees no reason why his team should back down from that approach.
England redefined the way ODI cricket was played and their dominant run culminated with the World Cup trophy back in 2019. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that India’s fresh outlook towards the shorter formats is inspired by the English template.
The three games will be the only 50-over contests India will feature in before the T20 World Cup but Rohit asserted they still hold a lot of importance. “All matches are important for us. We can’t play thinking ODIs are not a priority, but we have to keep in mind the workload of each player. We will make changes but our ultimate goal is to win matches. We will not leave that thought process behind,” said Rohit on Sunday after the third T20 at Nottingham.
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“For us, the aim is to understand white-ball cricket, how to play, new guys are playing. 50 over is an extension of T20. Maybe you take less risk in ODIs as compared to T20 cricket but you have to take it.” The team will have an optional training session at The Oval with a quick turnaround time between the T20 and ODI series. For someone like Shikhar Dhawan, who only plays only one format and will be captaining the team in the West Indies, it will be a challenge to take on the England attack from the word go.
However, the southpaw has found ways to stay consistent, whether he is playing ODIs for India or the IPL. More than a billion people were waiting for Virat Kohli to hit form in the T20s but that did not happen. Buying into the team’s new approach, he had to go hard from ball one but the ODIs series will give him a lot more time to get back to his best. He showed glimpses of his rare brilliance on Sunday and will be hoping to find a bagful of runs in the three games.
India’s conscious effort to play aggressive will not come good always but the team management is ready to live with that. Rohit also spoke about the biggest takeaways from the T20 series win. “The biggest takeaway has been the approach of each and every individual who has played this series. How they’ve relished the moment in the middle, taking on the opportunity, the opposition, taking that extra risk.
“The mindset is something we’re trying to change and that I guess is the biggest takeaway from all the players. They are willing to do that, they are willing to take that risk. And when I go and talk to certain individuals or players and I hear the same kind of response from them, that is the biggest takeaway.
“Obviously while doing that, results will go here and there. We’re looking at the larger picture and to achieve that we’ll make some mistakes,” he said. The ODI series will be Buttler’s first since taking over as white-ball skipper from Eoin Morgan. After the T20 disappointment, the hosts will be eager to bounce back strongly.
Buttler himself will be looking to make the big scores he is known far, having failed in the T20s. England will be bolstered with the return of their star players Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, the hero of Birmingham Test win of the hosts. While Root doesn’t play T20s, Stokes and Bairstow were rested after the historic triumph in the rescheduled fifth Test.
Squads: Jos Buttler (C), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey.
India’s squad for 3 ODIs: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, J Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Mohd Shami, Mohd Siraj, Arshdeep Singh.
Match starts 5.30 PM IST.