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West Indies a different team under Kieron Pollard’s captaincy, says his MI teammate Rohit Sharma

Rohit told the media on the eve of the third T20I in Mumbai on Wednesday

Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard of Mumbai Indians
Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard of Mumbai Indians celebrate fall of a wicket. (Photo: IANS)

India’s limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma was all praise for West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard saying the Caribbeans looked a more formidable side under him. Rohit’s acclamation for the batting all-rounder was not too unlikely as the two have been playing alongside each other for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for nine long years.

Pollard has taken over as the West Indies’ captain from Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite in the ODIs and T20Is, respectively, and did well to beat Afghanistan 3-0 in the 50-over format. In the T20Is, however, his team lost the series 1-2 after taking a lead.

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Praising Pollard’s leadership skills, Rohit said he has honed them during his stint in the MI. “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,”

Rohit told the media on the eve of the third T20I in Mumbai on Wednesday. The match is set to be the decider after both teams won a game each.

“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.”

Both Rohit and Pollard are well familiar with the conditions in Wankhede and the supporters can expect to see a cracker of a game. None of the two hard-hitting batsmen have so far made runs in the series and would look to play a big role in the crunch encounter.

India’s poor fielding cost them the second match

India are having sloppy fielding in the series and it cost them the match in Thiruvananthapuram. The first game in Hyderabad saw captain Virat Kohli’s 94 not out in 50 balls winning it for India but Lendl Simmons gave it back in the second match to equalise the series. India will be worried as it was the same Simmons who had ended India’s run in the T20 World Cup at the same Mumbai in 2016.

Rohit also added that the West Indies team is a very unpredictable one as it was seen in Thiruvananthapuram. He said Pollard’s team did well even in Hyderabad where Kohli’s innings helped India win. “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.

India have not been able to be as flawless in the T20Is as they are doing it in Tests. They have lost three matches since their exit from the World Cup and all of them have come in the shortest format — against South Africa, Bangladesh and now the West Indies.

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