Rohit Sharma: ‘This team certainly has bench-strength’

The India opener, who scored 125 off 109 balls in the final rubber of the ODI series against Australia, says the team has players who are ready for challenges at any given point.

Rohit Sharma started the tournament on a quiet note, but followed up with two half-centuries, before the hundred in Nagpur on Sunday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Barring K.L. Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, who was called up as cover for Axar Patel the first three ODIs, India fielded all the 14 members of the squad announced for the five-match ODI series against Australia. And the seamless manner in which the squad combined during the 4-1 series underlines the bench-strength of Team India, according to opening batsman Rohit Sharma, who slammed his 14th ODI ton — 125 off 109 balls — in the fifth match here on Sunday.

“This team certainly has it (bench-strength). You've seen it throughout the tournament. Whoever has got an opportunity, they have come and grabbed it,” said Sharma, the man of the match of India's chase of 243 in the concluding rubber of the series.

Read: Rohit, Rahane blow Australia away

“It only shows that we've got guys who can come up at any given point, take up the challenge, perform and just go out and do their job.”

After the loss in Bengaluru, India made three changes to its bowling unit. While leggie Yuzvendra Chahal's ailment meant chinaman Kuldeep Yadav got another game, the first-choice pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami returned to the starting line-up. Besides, Ajinkya Rahane grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring his fourth consecutive fifty at the top following Shikhar Dhawan's withdrawal from the squad due to a family emergency.

“We missed Chahal today. But Axar came in and got wickets. Kuldeep bowled pretty well too. Ajinkya has scored consistently throughout the tournament and it only goes to show that this is a solid team and the future is bright,” added Sharma.

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