Indian skipper Virat Kohli rubbished the rumors of an alleged rift with vice-captain Rohit Sharma during the team's pre-departure address. For weeks, there were rumors doing rounds that there was a widening gulf between the captain and his deputy, reportedly over issues with the way the team was handled.
Responding to a reporter's query, Kohli said, "It wouldn't be possible for the team to play consistently like we have if there was something as such. The team has moved from number seven in the ICC rankings to the number one team and has remained consistent in its position and performance. Such a rift will not have allowed the team to progress positively."
The Men in Blue's head coach Ravi Shastri decided to address the query about the alleged rift himself. He said that there was no such rift that existed to his knowledge.
"The team has been performing consistently and is working together in perfect sync and harmony. Rumors of such a rift are baseless ", he said.
The skipper addressed the team's preparation for the upcoming tour of the West Indies and said that many young players have gotten a chance to make a name for themselves in the tournament. Responding to a query on the middle-order woes, Kohli said that the issue was subjective in nature and that not all the batsmen got chances to play in every match in order to prove themselves. The skipper maintained that the team was in perfect form and will strive to be better.
Kohli heaped praises on Test batsman Ajinkya Rahane, lauding the batsman's ability to read the game and put runs on board. Calling him a seasoned Test player, Virat Kohli said that Ajinkya Rahane's return to the Test side will help the team perform better in addition to the inclusion of another seasoned Test cricketer- Cheteshwar Pujara.
The first two T20I matches will be played on August 3 and 4, respectively, at the Broward County Stadium in the city of Lauderhill in Florida, USA. The third T20I will be played on August 6 at the National Stadium in Guyana
India will play two test matches against Windies from August 22 to 26 and from August 30 to September 3 at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua and Sabina Park in Jamaica respectively. These two matches will be the beginning of the ICC World Test Championship campaign, and it will continue being played over the next two years. The five-week Windies tour will also include three T20s and many ODIs following which the test matches will begin.