WI vs IND: “If Virat, Rohit had to take a break, they shouldn’t have gone…” – Mohammad Kaif on resting veterans

WI vs IND: "If Virat, Rohit had to take a break, they shouldn't have gone..." - Mohammad Kaif on resting veterans
WI vs IND: "If Virat, Rohit had to take a break, they shouldn't have gone..." - Mohammad Kaif on resting veterans

WI vs IND: “If Virat, Rohit had to take a break, they shouldn’t have gone…” – Mohammad Kaif on resting veterans

WI vs IND: Former Indian batter Mohammad Kaif opined that the India’s ongoing tour of West Indies was taken lightly, as it witnessed a lot of experimentation and chances given to youngsters, especially in the ODI leg of the tour and judgements about the team should be made from the Asia Cup, where they should field their best playing XI.

India won the ODI series against West Indies by 2-1. A lot of experiments within the squad was done. Seniors like Virat Kohli and skipper Rohit Sharma were rested and youngsters/non-regulars like Sanju Samson, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat etc., were given chances to play.

“This West Indies Tour was taken very lightly and we would not judge the team based on this tour. West Indies are struggling a lot. They could not qualify for World Cup. I do not know what the team management is trying to do but main tournaments for me will start with Asia Cup. I would want them to display their best eleven in Asia Cup. Right now there is confusion.”

“If Virat and Rohit had to take a break then they should not have gone. You send a new team if you want to give break to them. West Indies Tour was not that big. Our second team can also beat them but I would not make any judgements now. I will start judging them (Team India) with the playing eleven they play in Asia Cup, what squad they will have. If you look at West Indies Tour then 17-18 players are there. But to make a squad of 15 you need to be sure of your playing eleven,” said Kaif to the media on the sidelines of ‘Pitchside-My Life in Indian Cricket’ book launch.

The former batter feels that Virat Kohli will be a huge factor for India in the World Cup against any bowler, with the form he has been in since Asia Cup, which has seen him smash multiple centuries across all formats of the game.

“I think Virat Kohli had a rough patch but now he has come back to form. The form which he showed in IPL and against Pakistan the shot he played to Haris Rauf, it was great. The Asia Cup form he got after scoring century against Afghanistan, he has not looked backn since then. So, Virat Kohli in form will be a huge factor against any bowler. I do not care who the bowler is,” said Kaif.

The former batter feels Ishan Kishan will be in the World Cup squad.

“Ishan Kishan will be in the squad. I am glad that he has done well. You need someone who can keep and score runs. For KL Rahul we need to check his fitness. You need a back up keeper in the squad and Ishan’s form will help when Rahul Dravid will pick his playing eleven. I am not sure whether it is going to be Ishan Kishan or Sanju Samson or Iyer, all these names would not go to the World Cup squad. Only two will come. We will have to see whether Rahul’s name will come in World Cup squad that decision they (team management) have to take but Ishan Kishan has done well,” said Kaif.

Ishan named as the ‘Player of the Series’ against West Indies in ODIs. As he scored 184 runs in three matches with half-centuries in all of the games. Ishan has smashed a double century and six fifties in 16 ODI innings, in which he has scored 694 runs at an average of 46.26, with a strike rate above 107.

WI vs IND: “If Virat, Rohit had to take a break, they shouldn’t have gone…” – Mohammad Kaif

Kaif said that the India’s tour of West Indies, especially the ODI leg, which saw a lot of youngsters getting chances and regulars like Virat, skipper Rohit Sharma being rested for two ODIs, was taken very lightly.

Kaif also impressed with Sanju Samson, who continued to make good use of opportunities he receives with a quickfire fifty in third ODI against West Indies and feels he should be in the WC squad.

“I am very much impressed with Sanju Samson. The way he played last match. He has done that on many occasions whenever he has batted at number four or five. We look for a left hander at five, we send Ishan Kishan or any other player. It is not a smart thing to do. We need a player at that position who can play left arm spin as well as leg spin and that Samson can do. He played that knock under pressure. He knew that if he does not perform then he is not in the World Cup team. I think he should be there in the World Cup,” said the batter.

Kaif opines that Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill should be India’s opening combination for the World Cup.

Talking about the World Cup semifinalists, Kaif said, “For me World Cup starts in semi final. Before that you do not get that strong a side to face. India’s tournament will start in semifinals. So, New Zealand, Australia, England and Pakistan will be the key opponents. So, to win the World Cup we need two big matches semi-final and final. And if India does not reach semifinal then it will be disheartening.”

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