After dominating the white ball sojourn team India is set to take on the Island nation in a 2-match Test series. It will also see them and the Caribbean side embark on their ICC Test championship journeys. Unlike the olden days, nowadays India is far superior to the Windies in the whites but still, the hosts have the potential to surprise the No.1 side in their den. With the picturesque Antigua is hosting the opening encounter it will be an interesting contest as both the teams have a good set of players.
Virat Kohli‘s men are the hot favourites to win the series and it is because of their booming talents in the squad. Though India is the top-ranked side in the classic format the team has a couple of weak links which makes them vulnerable. It will be a perfect test for the batting group which has been inconsistent in recent times. As far as bowling is concerned India will have a fresh pair of legs. All the players in the squad got the required game time in the practice match against Windies A.
On the contrary, the Caribbean side was outplayed by the opposition in the shorter formats. Still, there is hope and the side will be drawing some confidence from their Test series win against England earlier in the year. Under Jason Holder, the Windies have cherished some good moments in red-ball cricket. Though they have enough firepower they need a complete team effort otherwise the next couple of weeks will be tough for the home team.
KL Rahul will retain his place in the playing XI as the Indian team is short of opening stocks. He will accompany his state teammate Mayank Agarwal who showed a lot of promise in Australia. Again Cheteshwar Pujara will be the rock in the Indian batting line-up. Virat Kohli will be guiding the middle order with his trusted sepoy Ajinkya Rahane. The latter is under the pump but he has the ability to thrive in pressure situations.
India is likely to stick with Rishabh Pant as their first choice keeper-batsman as Wriddhiman Saha is fresh out of injury. If India opts for an extra batsman then it will be a toss up between Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari. The spin wizard, Ravichandran Ashwin will get the nod because of his record in the island nation. The pace battery will be led by Jasprit Bumrah and he will be supported by Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Probable XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma/Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
The opening duties will be shared by Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell and the latter is known for his ball striking. Even though Darren Bravo has not played much cricket in recent times he will be making the playing XI because of his experience in Tests. After their below-par outings in ODIs the youngsters, Shai Hope, and Shimron Hetmyer will be looking to improve their show in the longer version of the game.
Shane Dowrich will be keeping the wickets and his gritty batting will help the side in scoring useful runs down the order. Roston Chase and Jason Holder will be the all-rounders and both of them are efficient with their multi-dimensional skills. Rahkeem Cornwall might get his international cap because of his consistent performances in the domestic circuit. Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel will be the frontline pacers and they can wreak havoc with the new ball.
Probable XI: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Shane Dowrich (WK), Jason Holder (C), Roston Chase, Kemar Roach, Rahkeem Cornwall/ Keemo Paul, Shannon Gabriel.
Focus will be on
Ajinkya Rahane (India)
India has an eye-catching batting line-up and one of the stars is Ajinkya Rahane. In his initial years, the Mumbaikar was the most reliable batsman in the middle-order but the form has deserted the right-hander in the last 18 months. The team management has backed Rahane in tough times but now he will have to produce numbers to keep his place in the side. The series will determine his fate in the international circuit.
Shannon Gabriel (Windies)
At the moment, the West Indies team has quality pacers in their ranks. One of them is Shannon Gabriel who can rip apart the best of the batting line-ups with his pace. Due to his good form, the speedster was selected in the 2019 World Cup but he failed miserably. Now he will be returning to his favoured format and will be itching to prove a point to his teammates.
Head to Head
Matches played – 96 | Windies won – 30 | India won – 20 | Draw – 46
25 – Number of wickets taken by Kemar Roach in 4 tests at Sir Viv Richards stadium
17 – Number of years passed since West Indies beat India in the Test format
TV – Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 1 HD, Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match Timings – 19:00 IST and 9:30 local
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