India captain Virat Kohli, right, and Rohit Sharma
India captain Virat Kohli, right, and Rohit Sharma, run between the wickets during their second One-Day International cricket match against West Indies in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on August 11, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: If Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma made headlines for the wrong reasons in the wake of India’s shock semi-final exit in the ICC World Cup, a 74-run partnership between the two stars in the second one-dayer against West Indies on Sunday showed how significant the duo’s role had been for Indian cricket in recent years.

The duo, who came together at the crease for the first time in a 50-overs match after the World Cup, overhauled Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag pair in terms of 50-plus stands for India in this format. The captain and the vice-captain now have 32 of such 50-plus partnerships, while they have 17 century partnerships from 77 innings together.

It will still be a while before they can overtake the partnership between Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, the most successful Indian pair for any wicket in One-day Internationals. The duo, in 176 innings together, had stitched together 26 century partnerships and 55 partnerships of 50-plus runs.

There was a bit of a role reversal from the World Cup in Port of Spain for while Sharma got dismissed while trying to go after off-spinner Roston Chase, Kohli ended his brief drought of three figure knocks with his 42nd century in this format - now only seven short of Tendulkar’s all-time high tally of 49.

Speaking after the match, the skipper said that since both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit had not got going, it became his responsibility to step up and score a century.

“Feels good to get a hundred when the team wanted me to get one. Shikhar and Rohit didn’t get a big one. One of the top three has always got the big one. A senior man had to step up and today was my opportunity to step up,” the skipper said.

A peek into the Indian change room - thanks to a tweet from the Indian cricket board - showed the atmosphere was cordial and business as usual at the outset. Indian board’s official Twitter handle posted a video of Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja doing the ‘heads up challenge’, which looked like a game of dumb charades. While Jadeja and Rohit play the guessing game, India captain Virat Kohli was present close by. The first name that came up in the challenge was that of Jasprit Bumrah which Sharma managed to guess in a matter of seconds but the next name - Virat Kohli - took him a while.

Allrounder Jadeja copied Kohli’s routine before facing a ball and copied him leaving the ball after seeing it till the last moment, but Rohit Sharma still did not seem to get it. However, after getting a few more clues from Jadeja, Rohit managed to guess Virat Kohli’s name right.

The Indian captain broke into a smile and asked the duo, “kya kiya” (what’s up?).

Looks like happy days are back in the Indian dressing room!