India wrapped a convincing 3-0 sweep in the T20I series in Guyana earlier this week and Virat Kohli’s men will be confident of a good show in the ODI series as well. The Indian team just a month ago did well in the World Cup and is the second-ranked team in the ODI rankings. Even though this team in the Caribbean has lots of changes, the team still possesses lots of talent in their squad. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will return at the top of the order and it will be interesting to see if India retains KL Rahul at number four for this series.
India also has Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer in the squad which means that one of them will surely take the middle-order spot. Ravindra Jadeja who had a brilliant World Cup will be the all-rounder in the XI and Kuldeep Yadav will come in as the specialist spinner. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami will take the new ball which leaves only one spot open for a third seamer. Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini will fight for that one spot in the XI. Khaleel being a left-arm might work on his side as he will provide variety to the pace attack.
Despite the changes, the Indian team does look settled baring couple of positions in the XI. The same cannot be said about the hosts though. West Indies had a poor World Cup. Despite starting the tournament brilliantly with a win against Pakistan, their inconsistency caught up with them and they struggled throughout the tournament. Their bowling attack was decent but their batting fell off way too many times for them to be competitive. The opening combination for West Indies was a problem in the World Cup and their middle order struggled under pressure as well. Their squad though looks pretty similar to their World Cup one with not many big changes. Chris Gayle remains at the top with possibly Evin Lewis joining him. The middle-order will be the same led by the consistent Shai Hope and the bowling leader will be Kemar Roach. Jason Holder will return to captain the side which will be a huge boost for the hosts.
Rohit Sharma (India): Rohit Sharma was India’s best player in the World Cup. He batted brilliantly and scored 5 hundred in the tournament. He will once again be important for India as the Indian middle-order still is unsettled. India would want him and Dhawan to give them good starts to offset the inexperience in the middle order.
Mohammad Shami (India): Mohammad Shami has been brilliant for India since his return to white-ball cricket. He has been picking wickets with the new ball and has been bowling with accuracy and pace. He will once again provide India with the potency they require with the new ball against some good strikers at the top of the order in the opposition.
Shai Hope (West Indies): The biggest problem West Indies had in the World Cup was their batting. They struggled at the top and the middle order struggled to get going. Shai Hope is their best batter and he would want to set the tone for the series with a good performance.
Kemar Roach (West Indies): West Indies have a good attack but Kemar Roach with his experience will be crucial in the opening and the middle overs. India’s strength is the top three and if he along with Cottrell can skittle a couple at the top, the visitors will be under pressure.
What did they say?
“For us, the priority has always been to be one of the most consistent sides in the world, and in the last three to four years, I think we’ve been able to achieve that. We’re the no.2 side in the world and there’s a good reason to that. We’ve been at no.1 as well sometime. It’s the kind of cricket that we’ve played that has gotten us up here.” – Virat Kohli
“Too many instances where we have gotten starts as individuals but never carried them deep into the innings, so that’s one area we have pinpointed and once we’ve tackled that we have put ourselves in our very good position,” said West Indies captain Jason Holder about lack of big scores from his batters.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer/Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Khaleel Ahmed
West Indies XI:
Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder (c), Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach
With the World Cup over both these teams now start fresh. Like Virat Kohli said it might be too early to think about the 2023 World Cup but again the planning surely will begin now. India especially has made lots of changes in their squad and it is certain that they are planning ahead. West Indies for sure will be doing the same through this series. This will be an interesting series but India starts as the overwhelming favorite.