When West Indies last beat India Australia were still the most the powerful side in the world, none the members of the current Indian squad had made their debut, social media revolution hadn’t yet kicked in and IPL was still a few years away.
2006 – That’s how long it has been. Since then, India against West Indies in One-day cricket has had only one script. Locations have changed, conditions have changed, players have changed, but the script has always remained the same- India coasting to a series win with ridiculous ease.
Since January 2010, West Indies have managed just 8 wins in 35 matches, losing 24 with a W/L ratio of 0.33. If that doesn’t put the one-sidedness of the contest (or no contest) in perspective, the fact that India’s W/L ratio shoots to 5.00 [10 wins in 15 games; 2 defeats] since 2015.
That said, West Indies, courtesy their flamboyant batting, can surprise you if you take them likely, as was evident in the last year’s ODI series and also during the recently concluded T20I rubber. West Indies have the firepower in their batting but it is their bowling that will worry skipper Kieron Pollard.
How to stop the Indian batting and especially Kohli. Kohli averaged 151 in his last nine ODI innings against the West Indies, and the fact that the likes of Jason Holder and co were hammered with disdain in the T20Is by Kohli, will only compound the issues of the visitors.
With Shikhar Dhawan ruled out due to injury, KL Rahul will open the batting with Rohit Sharma. The middle-order picks itself with Captain Kohli coming in at No.3 followed by Shreyas Iyer, who had a great ODI series in the Caribbean back in August followed by the underperforming Rishabh Pant.
Kedar Jadhav comes back into the set-up after a long layoff and will slot in the middle-order, and it will be interesting to see whether Kohli will use him as a bowling option. Shivam Dube will serve as the seam-bowling all-rounder, and with India opting to for all-round option in Ravindra Jadeja ahead of one of the wrist-spinner, Chahal might leapfrog Kuldeep Yadav to complete the spin-bowling department.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar no longer available, Mohammed Shami will spearhead the fast bowling department along with Deepak Chahar.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami
While the participation of Evin Lewis, who got injured in the last T20I is still unclear, West Indies will welcome back two of their batting spearhead in their series win against Afghanistan last month- Roston Chase and Shai Hope- to their set-up, making their batting unit even more fearsome.
But, it is their bowling that will worry Pollard and co. Jason Holder had an underwhelming T20I series and Pollard will hope that the former captain shrugs off the indifferent performance and comes back strong in the ODIs. Alzarri Joseph and Sheldon Cottrell will add potency to the squad while Hayden Walsh, who impressed in the T20I series, will give the attack a much-needed variety in the form of leg-spin.
Probable XI: Shai Hope (WK), Brandon King/Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Nicolas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard (C), Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Sheldon Cottrell, Romario Shepard/Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph
Focus will be on:
Shreyas Iyer [India]- In the last ODI series against the West Indies, back in August, Shreyas Iyer gave an account of what he brings to the table in the middle-order, something that India has been desperate for since Yuvraj Singh. In the last ODI, especially, Iyer displayed all the ingredients required to be successful middle-order batsmen in One-day cricket.
His ability to change the tempo of the game according to the match-situation has paved way for him to become the incumbent of the No.4 spot, but he must continue to put in the performances, and the three-match series at home couldn’t be a better chance to do an encore of his August heist.
Shimron Hetmyer [West Indies]– When West Indies last came to India for an ODI series, Shimron Hetmyer hit his way to a million-dollar IPL contract, coursey his exploits against the Men in Blue. But, since then, the southpaw’s performance has taken a significant dip across all formats. He gave indications of having regained some of it in the recently concluded series. And, the ODI series will be another chance for the left-hander to take his game to a next level and emerge as a bedrock of the middle-rock.
151 80– That’s Virat Kohli’s average in his last nine ODIs since the start of 2018 against the West Indies. During this period, the Indian captain has racked up 759 runs in eight innings at an average of 151.80 and a strike-rate of 107.35.
2006– Last time when India lost to West Indies in a bilateral ODI series.
5.00– India’s W/L ratio (10 wins, 2 defeats) against the West Indies since 2015.
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