Kolkata: The 'end of Dhoni era' notion has been dismissed unequivocally but then India, for the first time, will still be without the figure with a monumental body of work when they face West Indies in the opening T20 International on Sunday.
Less than a week after two-time World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was left out of India's T20I squad, captain Virat Kohli has said he remains an integral part of India's plans.
With Kohli rested for the three matches, Rohit Sharma will lead the side against the reigning T20 champions.
Under Jason Holder, West Indies were mauled 0-2 in the Test series in six days' of action. In the following five-match ODI series, they posed some challenge before being thrashed 1-3 with a nine-wicket loss in Thiruvananthapuram in the final one-dayer. But it will not be an easy task for India against the Carlos Brathwaite-led team as the two-month long series begins its final leg, giving the visitors a chance to regain some pride.
Brathwaite will be back at the same venue where he hit four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to break the hearts of English fans by winning their second World Twenty20 title in 2016.
The Windies, who missed the big names in the Test and ODI series, will be bolstered by the arrival of star players Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, who will be back at his IPL home venue. The stats also favour the World T20 holders who have a five-two record from eight exchanges from 2009-17.
India failed to overcome Brathwaite's men in their last four encounters and the Windies ended the home team's campaign in the 2016 T20I World Cup, defeating them in the semi-finals in Mumbai.
India's last win against West Indies came way back on March 23, 2014, in the World T20 in Bangladesh, and Sharma will have his task cut out in his quest to start well at his happy hunting ground.
India (XII): Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, K Khaleel Ahmed.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (Capt), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas, Khary Pierre, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran.
Pitch and conditions
The weather has taken a turn for the more pleasant, and the rain is expected to stay away on Sunday.
Stats and trivia
Sunday 4 November 2018
Start time 7:00 pm local (1330 GMT)