Team India is beginning as a strong contender in the three-match ODI cricket series against the West Indies (IND vs WI) starting Sunday, with the hosts eyeing their 10th consecutive bilateral ODI series win against the Caribbean team.
It has been raining in Chennai for the past 24 hours, due to which both teams will have their eyes fixed on the weather. The hosts will miss fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar and opener Shikhar Dhawan. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has a groin injury while Dhawan has not yet recovered from the injury sustained during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament.
Mumbai’s fast bowler Shardul Thakur, playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL, has been included in the Indian team as a substitute for the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Apart from openers Rohit Sharma and Lokesh Rahul (KL Rahul) in Mumbai, India are in a rhythm after winning the T20 series with excellent innings by captain Virat Kohli. In the absence of Dhawan, the responsibility of opening the innings in the ODI series can also be assigned to Rohit Sharma and Rahul.
Mayank Agarwal has been included in the squad as an alternative to Dhawan and it remains to be seen if he gets a chance to make his ODI debut. The Karnataka batsman was in great form in Test cricket and is associated with the team after playing a Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu in Dindigul. Shreyas Iyer has managed to take advantage of the opportunities and it is expected that he will be retained at number four, Rishabh Pant will have to show up.
All eyes will be also on wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has failed to perform effectively with bats and gloves for some time. Through the first ODI, he will once again get a chance to live up to the trust of Virat Kohli and team management.
It is to be seen whether the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav get a chance to play together once again on Chepak’s spin-friendly pitch. These two last played together in the World Cup. Veteran Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar will likely join the fast bowling attack and will have to face the challenge of the West Indies aggressive batsmen. The West Indies will be hoping that injured opener Evin Lewis will be able to play in the ODI series while fielding during the final T20 in Mumbai. Team officials say that his injury will be assessed before the first ODI.
Windies would like to avenge T20 series loss to India
Apart from batting aggressively, the West Indies batsmen will also have to save wickets so that they can score fast runs in the last over. Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran have shown their ability in the shortest format. If the West Indies have to challenge India, they will have to do the same in the 50-over format.
All-rounder Roston Chase is expected to find a place in the playing XI and he can provide stability to the batting order among the aggressive batsmen. The team’s bowling attack will be led by Sheldon Cottrell and Rohit, Rahul and Kohli’s superb form In the meantime, if the visiting team is to stop India from scoring big scores, they will have to take wickets soon. Leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr performed well in T20 Received and will face a tough challenge in front of them to prevent Kohli and his team, which has performed well against the spinners.