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Aakash Chopra urges Rohit Sharma to play more ODIs

Former India batter Aakash Chopra on Saturday urged veteran batter and all-format skipper Rohit Sharma to play more ODIs, urging the Nagpur-born cricketer to take minimal breaks and keep playing. Aakash Chopra also stressed that the time for experimenting with the team was also over.

Rohit Sharma took over as India’s all-format skipper almost a year back, and he has only led India in six ODIs. Shikhar Dhawan, who is currently the skipper of India’s ongoing ODI series against New Zealand in Kiwiland, has led India in seven ODIs, while KL Rahul has captained the Men in Blue in six ODIs. Dhawan, in fact, would have led India in nine ODIs by the time the ongoing series against Black Caps end.

“If you look at Sri Lanka, they are playing against Afghanistan, and Dasun Shanaka is leading them. England played against Australia, and Jos Buttler is still their captain. Australia chopped and changed a little bit but Pat Cummins led them in two out of those three matches (against England). If all teams around the world are playing with their original captains then why do we change our captains so much? It’s a valid question,” argued Chopra on his YouTube channel.

Rohit Sharma has led India in only two ODI series (Against West Indies and England), and has missed five ODI series, including South Africa both home and away.

Apart from the South Africa series early this year, Rohit was available for selection in all the other series, but was rested. Others like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami have also been given frequent breaks as part of the workload management. In fact, against New Zealand, not only were the veterans rested, but also Rahul Dravid and his support staff were given a break following India’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia. The move to rest Rahul Dravid and his support staff has been criticised by former India coach Ravi Shastri.

“The captain is the one responsible for building a team. The same captain, the same coach helps a lot because the more time you spend with the team, the better you get to know each individual. If constantly, be it in West Indies, Zimbabwe, now in New Zealand, your captain is not available then there is a problem. Shikhar Dhawan led India in the last three ODI series. Suddenly when you go to Bangladesh, he won’t be the captain. The openers will change, and the captain will change. So when there are so many changes then your preparations are not good,”said Chopra.

Chopra said that if the seniors needed a break, they could take it during the IPL season.

“Now, the time for experimenting is gone. Rohit Sharma, I believe he is our captain for the 2023 ODI World Cup, should take minimal breaks and keep playing. If you need a break, take it during the IPL. If Team India is serious about winning the World Cup then they should start fielding their best XI as much as possible,” the 45-year-old added.

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