We wanted to give game time to our ODI players: Rohit

Bridgetown (Barbados): India captain Rohit Sharma didn’t expect the Kensington Oval track to deteriorate so much but defended his decision to promote ODI specialists ahead of him and Virat Kohli in the first match here on Thursday.

India beat West Indies by five wickets in a game where spinners from either side picked up 10 out of the 15 wickets that fell on a rank turner with a lot of bounce and carry.

“I never thought the pitch would play like that, it was the team’s need to bowl first. The pitch had everything for seamers and spinners, our guys did well to restrict them to that score,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

The skipper himself came into bat at No. 7 and said that it made him take a trip down memory lane when he used to come in at that number as a rookie.

“I made my debut for India and was batting at number 7, reminded me of those days,” Rohit said.

On a serious note, it was a move to give game time to white ball specialists like Suryakumar Yadav.

“We wanted to give game time to the ODI guys who have come in, we will keep trying those things whenever possible. To restrict them to 115, we knew we could try these guys and give them a go,” Rohit said, defending the move of sending Suryakumar at No. 3 and Hardik Pandya at No. 4.

“I don’t think they’ll get many chances like this.” He also praised debutant seamer Mukesh Kumar, who has impressed one and all on Test debut.

“Mukesh was brilliant, he can swing the ball at good pace. Good to see what he can offer, haven’t seen him much in domestic cricket. No matter the conditions, we need to bowl in the right areas to restrict them and I thought our bowlers did brilliantly. And then Ishan was good with the bat as well.” West Indies skipper Shai Hope kept it short but was very critical of a track that resembled rank turner.

“Not too many words come to mind. We didn’t play the way we needed to, we need to find ways to score on difficult pitches like this. I’m not making excuses but anyone watching cricket can see what is happening here,” Hope said.