By Elton Gomes
India will be up against West Indies in the second of the two-match Test series at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad tomorrow. The Indian team will be brimming with confidence after they recorded their biggest ever Test win as they defeated West Indies by an innings and 272 runs.
An already struggling Windies side will have an uphill task as skipper Jason Holder remains unfit. Additionally, their only fast bowler of repute, Shanon Gabriel, is doubtful to start the second Test.
The Men in Blue delivered a stellar performance in the first Test in their record breaking win. Debutant Prithvi Shaw’s outstanding knock earned him the Man of the Match award for his 134 off 154 balls. Virat Kohli (139) and Ravindra Jadeja (100*) also scored centuries as India posted a mammoth 649 on the board.
On the other hand, the performance by the West Indies left much to be desired as both batsmen and bowlers failed to make an impact. The Windies will look to put on a better performance against the Indians, who seem to look superior in every department.
Minimal changes were made to the India squad. Prithvi Shaw undoubtedly retained his place in the team. K.L. Rahul, who was dismissed for a duck in the first over at Rajkot, was also included in the side, despite India having the option to give Mayank Agarwal his Test debut.
India’s probable 11 include: K.L. Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami.
The starting 11 for the West Indies could include Kraigg Brathwaite, Keiran Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (WK), Keemo Paul, Jason Holder (C), Shannon Gabriel, Devendra Bishoo, and Kemar Roach.
Virat Kohli demands to leave Prithvi Shaw alone
India skipper Virat Kohli does not seem to be a great fan of all the attention being garnered by teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw. Kohli instead has demanded that Shaw is left alone and some space be given to youngster, who is already being compared to Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
Kohli, who tasted stardom quite early himself, took some questions on Shaw and called for some space. “I don’t think he should be rushed into anything yet because you need to give a youngster a space to grow, in his own abilities. This guy is supremely talented and he has got great ability as everyone saw,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference, NDTV reported.
Kohli further said, “We definitely think he (Shaw) has it in him to play at the highest level and he can repeat what he did in the first game. He is a very keen learner, a sharp guy. He understands situations well. We are all very happy for him.”
What to expect from the match
K.L. Rahul will be expected to put on a better performance. The Karnataka batsman witnessed a dip in form after being dismissed for a duck in the first over of the first Test. Rahul now has the joint-most number of ducks (3) among batsmen in the top order (positions 1-3) in 2018. Rahul will have to pull up his socks as Prithvi Shaw and Murali Vijay pile up the runs.
Kemar Roach’s return could infuse some confidence into the Windies. Roach missed the first Test after having to return to Barbados following the death of his grandmother. His return along with that of skipper Holder will give the Windies pace attack some much-needed bite against Indian batsmen.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius