Rohit Sharma believes West Indies appear a more formidable side under the leadership of Mumbai Indians teammate Kieron Pollard. Pollard took over as West Indies’ ODI and T20I from Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite respectively and having shared the MI dressing room for nine long years, Rohit says the West Indies allrounder has developed great leadership skills being part of four-time IPL champions.
“I know Pollard really well and he has a great knowledge about the game. I know as a leader what he would be expecting from the team. Under his leadership, it is a different team that we are seeing now, so yes, we have to be at our best when we play them,” said Rohit on the eve of the third T20I on Wednesday.
“He (Pollard) is a very smart player, smart thinker and he has been the captain of the team. When it comes to Mumbai (Indians), he has always been part of the leadership group and last year when I wasn’t available for one game, he captained MI. So, he has always been part of the leadership group and I know how he thinks.”
India took a 1-0 lead over West Indies in Hyderabad before Lendl Simmons blindsided Virat Kohli’s team in Trivandrum. Besides Simmons and a couple of crucial knocks from Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran, India were also undone by some ordinary fielding and catching. Simmons was dropped by Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant spilled an easy catch behind stumps to give Lewis a lifeline early in the West Indies chase.
It wasn’t the first time Simmons and West Indies silenced India – the semifinal of the 2016 World T20 in Mumbai remains a classic example – and Rohit admitted the West Indies’ unpredictable nature works well for them.
“They are very unpredictable as a team, you never know what they can come up with on a given day, like we saw the other day. Even the first game, they played very well and it was Virat’s (Kohli) brilliance that got us over. But with West Indies this is always expected and they play well as a team,” he added.
“We have got to stick to our plans, back it and execute it in the middle. Last game we made some mistakes on the field, whether it was with the bat, ball and also on the field. We know where we lacked as a team so we just need to tighten up in those areas and make sure that those mistakes are not repeated again and again.
“We just need to be thinking as if it is a good challenge to come against a team like West Indies where they have got some power-hitters all the way through. So it is a good challenge for our bowlers to bowl against a team like that where you know every second ball they will come and try hit a six.”