by Elton Gomes
The Indian cricket team will look to regain their confidence in the longer format of the game as they welcome West Indies in the first test match today.
Top ranked India will be playing against eighth-ranked West Indies in a series of two Tests, five one-day internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 (T20) games.
The long series will start tomorrow with the test match in Rajkot. The subsequent match will be played on October 12 in Hyderabad.
The five-match ODI series will begin from October 21. The second, third, fourth, and fifth ODI will be played on October 24 in Indore, October 27 in Pune, October 29 in Mumbai, and November 1 in Thiruvananthapuram, respectively. The remaining three T20Is will be played on November 4, November 6, and November 11, as per an NDTV report.
Squads and statistics
India have departed from their tradition of piling on the suspense by naming a 12-man shortlist on the eve of the Test. The squad sees Pritvi Shaw making his debut, while Virat Kohli returns to captaincy. India: 1 K.L. Rahul, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (captain), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), 7 R. Ashwin, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Kuldeep Yadav/ Shardul Thakur
West Indies will be without Kemar Roach, who had to go back home due to a family bereavement and will not be able to return in time. A possible West Indies squad could include: 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Shai Hope, 4 Sunil Ambris, 5 Shimron Hetmeyer, 6 Roston Chase, 7 Shane Dowrich (wicket-keeper), 8 Jason Holder (captain), 9 Keemo Paul, 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Shannon Gabriel
In 94 Test matches played between the two cricketing nations, West Indies enjoy a 30-18 advantage, and the rest of the matches were draws. West Indian pacer Jason Holder is just two wickets away from reaching the 200-wicket mark in internationals. Holder also needs 17 runs to reach the 1,500-run mark in Test cricket. For the Indians, Cheteshwar Pujara needs 191 to reach 5,000 runs in the longer format of the game.
Prithvi Shaw to debut
Prithvi Shaw will be making his international debut when India will take on West Indies tomorrow in Rajkot. Shaw will become the 293rd player to wear the Test cap for India.
18-year-old Shaw has scored 1,418 runs in 14 first-class matches at an impressive average of 56.72. Shaw has scored seven centuries and five fifties, and has a high score of 188 runs against West Indies when he played for India A.
India look to fix opening woes
The Test against the Windies will give India a chance to rectify problems in its top-order batting lineup. Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan opened for India in the first match of the recent series in England, but were dropped after a below-par performance between the wickets. K.L. Rahul managed to make the cut and will look to prove himself as he will be facing the new ball alongside Prithvi Shaw.
West Indies face uphill task
Prior to the first Test against India, Windies coach Stuart Law has said that playing against India in their backyard is a huge task for the fast-improving Windies team.
Law also said that about India’s poor performance in England was not a concern. The visitors put on a poor performance to lose the Test series 1-4.
“India are the number one side, we are further down the ladder (at 8). We are playing in their own backyard, it is a huge task. Not many teams have come here and won. We understand that but on the flip side we are getting better and better,” Law said, NDTV reported.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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