By Prarthana Mitra
With India set to play the first ODI against West Indies on Sunday, captain Virat Kohli and Company eye another win after the resounding Asia Cup win.
Having missed the Asia Cup, Indian skipper Virat Kohli is back to the 50-overs format after a brief and much-needed hiatus and will lead the newly announced team of 12 power players. Also making a return are MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma who will play alongside debutante Rishabh Pant.
The Windies’ line-up
The men in blue will battle it out at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati, against the rather inexperienced West Indies team which could not weather Indian pacers in the recently concluded 2 match Test series. To make matters worse, star player Evin Lewis will not adorn the Indies’ batting order, having pulled his name due to injury. The Mumbai Indians player was used to Indian pitch and his absence is likely to be felt by the visitors. Furthermore, West Indies coach Stuart Law will not be allowed into the dressing rooms for the next two ODIs due to a breach of ICC’s code of conduct. All hope is now pinned on skipper Jason Holder, veteran Marlon Samuels and returning Kemar Roach.
India’s mid-field woes
However, there is no reason for India to be complacent. Kohli and team would be better off fixing the inconsistency in their middle order. With Dhoni struggling to add runs on the board, head coach Ravi Shastri may be looking at 21-year-old Rishabh Pant as a viable player in the midfield. Pant, who will make his ODI debut on Sunday, has had a brilliant record on the crease so far in the longest format. He replaces Dinesh Karthik as a specialist batsman even though his skills as a wicket-keeper remains questionable. Although Indian pacers Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja have been proficient in test matches, they have yet to prove themselves in the limited overs format.
While the dominating performance in the recent Test against may have boosted India’s morale, history shows that the Windies have won 61 of the 121 ODI matches they played against India who won 56 of them. Whether this team is the winning combination for India in the run-up to next year’s World Cup remains to be seen.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius