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India look to extend domination


Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the Sachin Tendulkar pavillion in Kochi yesterday. Photo - PTI

Kochi: After demolishing the West Indies in Sachin Tendulkar's emotionally draining farewell Test series, the Indian team will look to extend its supremacy in the ODIs as well when the two sides face off in a three-match series starting today.

The 2-0 whitewash against the Caribbean outfit was the perfect send off for the legendary Tendulkar, who called it quits after serving Indian cricket for nearly a quarter of a century.

The emotional curtain call left everyone, including the man of the moment, in tears even taking the focus away from the cricket that was played. The epic farewell is now behind them and the Indians would try and ensure that it is just cricket that is talked about now.

The home side already deserves credit for keeping itself focussed on the game in the Tests despite the frenzy surrounding Tendulkar's retirement.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men were clinical, to say the least, in the way they went about their business in the Test series, taking full advantage of the West Indians' shabby show to wrap up two Tests in a matter of five days.

The Indians start firm favourites in the shorter format too with a batting line-up, which is in intimidatingly good form.

Combining Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dahawn in the opening slots has proved to be a masterstroke so far with both scoring heavily in India's last ODI assignment — the seven-match series against Australia.

In fact, Rohit joined the all-Indian club of ODI double-centurions in the last match of that series, smashing a 158-ball 209, which included a record 16 sixes.

At number three, India has another aggressor in Virat Kohli, who would be keen to carry on with the fine form. The middle-order has a solid look to it with the likes of Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni himself.

Of these, Yuvraj would be keen to make his mark after a rather extended ordinary run with the bat.

In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami would be the one to watch out for as he seeks to be India's newest pace hope after the steady decline of senior pro Zaheer Khan, who has been denied a central contract by the BCCI this year.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, an IPL find, and Jaydev Unadkat complete the pace quartet for India with R Ashwin and Amit Mishra manning the spin department.

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