Muscat: Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy feels Indian cricket is in "good hands" under Rohit Sharma's leadership as he bracketed the senior India batter alongside the legendary MS Dhoni in their ability to get the best out of their teammates.
A five-time IPL winning captain, a fit-again Rohit will take charge as full time India white-ball captain in the upcoming three-ODI and three-T20I series against the West Indies beginning in Ahmedabad on 6 February.
Rohit was made the captain after the BCCI removed Virat Kohli as the ODI skipper following his war of words with the Board.
"Kohli has been exceptional with his performances on the field. I don't think it will affect the team," Sammy told PTI on the sidelines of Legends League Cricket in Muscat, Oman.
"Rohit has been an excellent captain (with Mumbai Indians), a good motivational leader. I've watched him captaining Mumbai in the IPL. He's among the captains who have won like MS Dhoni, (Gautam) Gambhir..."
"All these guys can manage to get performances from their teammates. These captains normally get results and win trophies. I'm not worried about Indian cricket. It's in good hand," the 38-year-old added.
Sammy recollected how Dhoni finished the game for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) with a six-ball 18 not out, smashing three boundaries in the last over against Delhi Capitals in the semi-final last season.
CSK won their fourth IPL title in 2021 beating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final.
"You see guys like MS... He didn't do much the entire season but when the team needed him to fire in the playoffs, he was out there in full flow," Sammy said.
West Indies can fancy their chances against India
Sammy said it will not be a cakewalk for India in the upcoming white-ball series and the Kieron Pollard-led side should "fancy their chances".
West Indies had bounced back from a shock 1-2 ODI series defeat against Ireland to lead the ongoing five-match T20I home series against England 2-1.
"I believe Pollard will definitely fancy his chances (against India). He has been playing in India for so long, he knows the conditions well.
"At the (ongoing) England series, we have unearthed some new talents. I think West Indies could go out there (India) and do well."
India struggled in their last ODI series in South Africa as the KL Rahul-led side were routed 0-3 by the Proteas. They had lost the preceding Test series 1-2.
Asked whether it would be an advantage for the West Indies considering India's struggle in their last series, Sammy said: "India have always been strong at home, they are a force to reckon with because of some really good one-day players."
Kemar Roach, the X-Factor
Kemar Roach has been recalled to the West Indies squad for their three-match ODI tour of India and Sammy feels the pacer will be key to give breakthroughs with the new ball.
The 33-year-old Roach last played an ODI game for the West Indies against India at the Queen's Park Oval in August 2019.
"We need bowlers who can take wickets in both the ODI and T20 series. Kemar is a quality bowler. We all know his records in Test cricket. He gets wickets with the new ball.
"When you play against quality guys, especially in India, you need guys to get breakthroughs with the new ball. If not, you could find chasing 300-plus especially on good Indian wickets.
"So I could understand the selection process behind it," Sammy said hailing the Desmond Haynes-led selection committee's decision.
Sammy leads World Giants into summit clash against Asia Lions
Sammy led the World Giants side to the Legends League Cricket final after a thrilling five-run last ball win over India Maharajas on Thursday.
"The tournament has been a success, every game is so exciting. We came here to win. Hopefully, another win and we take home the beautiful trophy," he said.
Talking about the tournament of the former players, he said: "The fans who saw you 10-15 years (ago) get to see you again. Look at the likes of KP (Kevin Pietersen), (Herschelle) Gibbs, all these guys coming and entertaining. This league could go far."
World Giants will take on Asia Lions in the final on Saturday.
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The event marked the wake of Royal Challengers Bangalore becoming the first T20 team in the world to be ranked among the Top 10 most popular teams on social media.
One cannot help but wonder whether Royal Challengers Bangalore have fallen into the trap of focusing on Virat Kohli instead of runs and wins.
During the post-match interview, Kohli revealed he had a 90-minute drill session in the nets ahead of the game against Gujarat Titans which turned out to be very helpful for him