Indian commentator, Aakash Chopra believes India should continue to rest Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the third ODI against West Indies if their primary objective is to experiment ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup. The final ODI of the three-match series will be played on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at Tarouba, Trinidad. While Rohit Sharma batted at number 7, Kohli did not get a chance to dominate in the first ODI. The experienced duo was rested for the second game, with Hardik Pandya leading the side in Rohit’s absence.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra opined that Rohit and Kohli shouldn’t be brought back into the XI just because the series is at stake, explaining:
They are saying they are experimenting keeping the Asia Cup and the World Cup in mind and the availability of players or the lack of it, then Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli cannot play today. Then you will have to put the series on the line today. You will have to say it’s alright, that you are not happy but okay to lose.”
The former Indian opener said that Akshar Patel should retained at No. 4 and should bat first if the tourist wins the toss, He said:
“So neither Rohit nor Kohli in this team and go with the same batting order. Then play Axar at No. 4, because you would have played him with some thinking, and bat first after winning the toss, so that you put a little more pressure on your players.”
Hardik had said at the time of the toss in the second ODI that if he had made the right call, he would have chosen to bat first. After being asked to set a target, India bundled out for 181 runs and eventually lost the game by six wickets.
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I am not 100% certain – Aakash Chopra on whether India will rest Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
However, Aakash Chopra was unsure whether Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli would be rested or not, reasoning:
“However, can that happen? I am not 100% certain. The Indian team might suddenly think here that they need to win the series because there have been 12 unbeaten series (against the West Indies) and what if they lose here? When you get such thoughts, then questions will be raised again.”
Aakash Chopra said that if experimentation had been the sole aim of the series, the Indian batting mainstays would not have been selected or played the first game, he said:
“I hope we don’t discuss this later but that can happen. I am not ruling that out because the players were selected and the seniors played the first match. So why not today? We shall find out.”
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are not part of the Indian team for the T20 series against West Indies and Ireland. It will be interesting to see if he will be rested for the final ODI as well as if he will not play any competitive cricket for the next one month.