India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli’s men gear up for rain-threatened encounter | india-vs-west-indies-2017 | Hindustan Times
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India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli’s men gear up for rain-threatened encounter

India will aim to take a 2-0 lead when they face a lacklustre West Indies in the third tie of the five-match One-day International (ODI) series at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Friday.

india vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jun 29, 2017 23:07 IST
Khurram Habib
India's captain Virat Kohli leaves the net during a practice session at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in St. John's, Antigua.
India's captain Virat Kohli leaves the net during a practice session at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in St. John's, Antigua.(AFP)

Following three days of bright sunshine and sweltering heat, it rained on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, leaving Friday’s third ODI between India and West Indies to the mercy of the weather.

India lead the series 1-0 with three games to go.

Thankfully, unlike the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, this ground has good drainage facilities, easily among the best in the world. If the curator is to be believed, it’ll take only half an hour to drain the water left by two-inch rain.

The Indians trained on Wednesday with the top three getting a long stint at the nets, interestingly with not a soul to watch them. However, Thursday’s practice had to be called off.

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Bonding time

Despite losing so much time, the Indians are not complaining with skipper Virat Kohli terming it good for team bonding.

This tour has been a getaway, if anything, he said on Thursday. More than sorting out deficiencies in skill and team composition, it is proving to be a team bonding exercise. The Indian team visited Jolly Beach and played volleyball, ate there with no one around as this is an island with no Indian population and no Indian tourists.

Earlier, the rain and sparse crowd in Trinidad also allowed them plenty of time off to relax.

“We’ve had enough of practice. Am really not too bothered (about rains washing away practice sessions), because it is a good opportunity to have a day off and do something together as a team and enjoy whatever we have on hand,” said Virat Kohli.

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“You can walk around, it is pretty peaceful. From that point of view it is quite relaxing for everyone just to be close to nature.”

The India skipper feels these are rare opportunities.

“It is important to grab these opportunities and stick together.

One close bunch

Guys training together, sticking together, trying to find things to do together, I think it really helps to bond and it really helps you understand each other much better.

“This team is a very closely knit unit and we all get along with each other really well. You won’t see anyone hanging out separately and things like that, we all mingle and hang out together.”

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The fact that the home batsmen and bowlers have looked inept allows India to take it easy and be not too worried. Windies coach Stuart Law pointed out the other day that his charges are inexperienced and are looking to learn from this series.

However, despite things being easy, there are some personal battles being fought in the Indian camp.

There are unlikely to be any changes in the India team, especially with even Ajinkya Rahane -- he scored a fifty and a hundred that won him the Man-of-the-Match -- getting a chance to play only because Rohit Sharma has been rested. Shikhar Dhawan too had made his comeback only for the Champions Trophy, and Yuvraj Singh is trying to make a case for himself while spinner R Ashwin needs wickets.

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So, despite India’s domination, there are contests to be won with spots at stake. Ensuring a healthy competition is perhaps doing the team a world of good.