After successfully coming out on top in both limited overs series in England, India head to West Indies to start another white ball tour on Friday when the two sides meet in Trinidad in the opening ODI of three.
West Indies have only just finished an ODI assignment themselves, one which was unsuccessful against Bangladesh so they will be eager to make up for that in what is a higher profile series even though it doesn’t carry World Cup qualifying points.
There was absolutely nothing about the West Indies that went right against Bangladesh. We should acknowledge that the pitches in Guyana for that series were not what the home side would have wanted and didn’t play to their strengths. It goes without saying that they will be hoping for much better from the wicket here in Trinidad and if they get it then with expectations around them quite low they might be able to express themselves and give India something to think about.
If West Indies are to have a chance here then they are going to need to bat a whole lot better than they did against Bangladesh, particularly against spin. That should happen on a better batting pitch but there is just no getting away from the fact that West Indies have lost their last six matches in ODI cricket. It might be that with the World Cup not being until next year that this format isn’t the primary concern for West Indies but they will need to improve soon else they might miss out on that tournament altogether.
The whole of Indian cricket will be buoyed by their wins in England but it will be a much changed squad which will go into battle here. This is more the squad which took on South Africa back home recently and gives us an insight into how much strength in depth India have in all departments. Whichever XI the Indians pick it is going to look like something resembling an Indian Premier League select XI.
Where it will be interesting to see how India go here is with the ball. Generally any side India put out is going to have some decent resources with the bat even allowing for the players they have given this series off, but away from home in particular their depth in the bowling department can sometimes be found wanting. Those bowlers are likely to be under pressure from a powerful West Indies batting unit too so their performance could decide the game.
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West Indies will welcome Jason Holder back into the ranks after he sat out the ODI series with Bangladesh recently. Keemo Paul is said to be ok after an injury in the final ODI against the Tigers but he is the obvious man to step aside for Holder.
India have decided to rest the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya which means that Shikhar Dhawan will skipper the side. Ravi Jadeja is the other experienced head in the squad.
I think we will get a better pitch in Trinidad than we got in Guyana and that makes me think that the player performance line of Nicholas Pooran is a little on the low side. It is 30.5 and he is more than capable of covering that with the bat. The beauty of India fielding a n IPL XI in this series is that Pooran would have seen all of those bowlers in that tournament when he was there so there shouldn’t be any surprises here.
Although the pitch will be better for batting from the one in Guyana, wickets in the Caribbean do tend to offer something for the spinner wherever they are these days so I just wonder if Pooran will use his off spin here. India could have three left-handers in their top seven for this match so off spin wouldn’t be a bad idea and if he can snatch a wicket he’ll only need 11 runs assuming he doesn’t take a catch. Pooran has a decent record against India so I think he can cover this line.
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