A week after they secured a T20 series against England, West Indies turn their attentions to the 50 over game and qualification for the next World Cup when they take on India away from home in the first of three ODIs in Ahmedabad, the opening game of which takes place on Sunday.
Both these sides need to pick up some points from this series and while India will be emphatic favourites to win it, they will know only too well the danger that West Indies carry in their side which makes this an intriguing series.
This will be the first time India have been in action since their defeat to South Africa in an overseas ODI series. This is a format they pride themselves on so they would have been disappointed not to get the job done in that series. What that loss might have done is toughen them up and make them even more determined to do a bit of a job on West Indies in this series. This series is done and dusted within a week so starting well is a strong necessity.
Generally in home conditions India are a different animal but their batting in this format has been below par for a while. The next World Cup in this format of the game is in India so there will be a real surge to try and peak for that tournament but it is only 18 months or so away so the foundations need putting in place now. The positive for India is they are always more than competitive with the ball in home surroundings.
This will be the first time West Indies have played ODI cricket since they were beaten by Ireland on home soil last month. They have seen off England in that T20 series which ended last week but the lateness of that series means that the Caribbean men have not have time for a warm up ahead of this series and haven’t really given themselves much time to settle into India and familiarise themselves with conditions at all.
That means we should probably expect the visitors to improve as the series goes along but when you consider this is only a three match series there isn’t really time for too much in the work your way into proceedings plan. If West Indies are going to get anything out of this series then their batters are going to have to be at their best. They will probably be tested with the ball in hand as well but if they don’t put runs on the board in these conditions they have no chance.
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India captain Rohit Sharma returns to the fold for this match and he has confirmed Ishan Kishan will be his opening partner in this one. The selection issue the Indians have is who will be the all-rounder. Washington Sundar is the leading candidate.
West Indies could line up in a similar fashion to the final T20 against England last week with Shamarh Brooks coming in for Rovman Powell and there is also going to be a return to ODI cricket for Kemar Roach. Hayden Walsh Jr is expected to feature too.
I’ll have a largely watching brief of this first match while we wait for West Indies to get up to speed so I’ll take just the one bet. If West Indies are going to get anything out of this opening match then you would imagine they are going to need a big performance from their captain Kieron Pollard. He has plenty of experience of playing in India with his IPL history so he should be able to adapt to the conditions without too much in the way of practice.
Pollard has a performance line of just 32.5 which if he gets himself in he is more than capable of covering with the bat in hand but I expect him to bowl a few overs. He bowled quite regularly throughout the T20 series with good impact so it would make sense for him to ease the burden on the bowlers with a few overs here. We know he is one of the best fielders in the world so he’ll be in key fielding positions so with a combination of the three scoring possibilities I expect the West Indies skipper to cover his performance line here.
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