Outplayed, outwitted and outclassed; that was the story of the test series from the Windies perspective, India on the other hand took complete advantage of the struggling-tourists as they broke some records along the way. There’ll be some relief that the test series is over, but now the Windies must show some fight in this ODI series following a poor showing in Rajkot and Hyderabad.
An injured right abductor tendon to medium-pacer Shardul Thakur on debut has ruled him out for the entire ODI series against the West Indies after horribly unlucky circumstances occurred in Hyderabad. On the flip side, the red-hot Umesh Yadav who’s coming off a 10-wicket haul in the second test has been called in as Thakur’s replacement for the series. He’s been branded as India’s go-to fast bowler on home soil, so far you’d have to say that the critics are spot on given his ability to pick up wickets quicker than any other seamer in the country. If Yadav is selected for the first match at Guwahati, the Windies might once again find it difficult to cope with the pace of the 30-year-old who was evidently too hot to handle as he burst through the defences of the tourists resulting in plenty of lbw and clean bowled dismissals as well as the odd edge through to the keeper. The West Indies batting appears to be their biggest downfall, and that’s where India has come prepared.
The batting is not going to be an issue at all for themselves however. Skipper Virat Kohli’s dynamic scoring ability will be on show alongside the hard-hitting openers in Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan who also look set to do the most damage with the bat in the series, although they have other candidates who will look to make their mark in the series as well. The absence of Ajinkya Rahane opens the door of opportunity for one of KL Rahul or Manish Pandey who both featured in just one-single Asia Cup match this year. In saying that, Rishabh Pant is a potential candidate to make his ODI debut as a specialist batsman in the middle order if India look to experiment with their side a bit. India is also set to welcome back seamer Mohammed Shami who’s last ODI was over a year ago, but they’ll really look to turn the heat up in the spin department. Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja look set to form a three-man spin attack for the first two matches at least, something the West Indies will have to counter if they’re to give themselves the best chance of an upset win.
It seems like every time the West Indian cricket team are pummelled into the ground by their opposition, optimism is quick to kick in. It’s almost as if the Windies have acknowledged that they’ve hit rock-bottom, only to find themselves descending into a bottomless pit. The worst outcome for them in this ODI series is that they head into the T20I series having not won a single game on tour which would be extremely deflating. Not a lot was expected of them coming into this tour of India, so the best they could do is pinch a couple of wins from the hosts who pride themselves on performing well at home. An upset could potentially be on the cards in the T20 series, but the focus remains solely on the ODI’s for the time being. Skipper Jason Holder’s form with the ball gives the Windies a glimmer of hope though, the big man has had an exceptional run in recent times with a 2018 bowling average of 11.87, as a result of claiming 33 wickets from just six tests.
Looking through their squad for this series, they’ve gone for a mix of youth and experience which could either work in their favour or flop horrendously. 37-year-old Marlon Samuels is one of the surprising names to see in the Windies outfit, he’s almost flown under the radar for the past couple of years despite being one of countries longest serving players. Some solid outings in the ICC World Cup qualifiers may have earned him a spot on this tour, it’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the table against India. With Evin Lewis pulling out of the one-day leg of the tour, the Windies have decided to bring in Kieran Powell as his replacement at the top of the order. Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer will be key contributors for the Windies in this series as well as the hard-hitting Rovman Powell who looked threatening with the willow in this year’s CPL. Their bowling attack has another huge task ahead of them as they come up against a strong Indian top order, Jason Holder will no-doubt be hoping to make some early inroads on Sunday in order to prevent the bleeding as much as possible.
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 1st ODI | Guwahati
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Virat Kohli
- Rohit Sharma
- Umesh Yadav
- Shikhar Dhawan
Wildcard pick – Yuzvendra Chahal
Top 5 fantasy picks | West Indies | 1st ODI | Guwahati
- Shai Hope
- Jason Holder
- Shimron Hetmyer
- Marlon Samuels
- Kemar Roach
Wildcard pick – Rovman Powell
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Virat Kohli © 4. KL Rahul 5. Ambati Rayudu/Manish Pandey/Rishabh Pant 6. MS Dhoni (wk) 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Mohammed Shami 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Umesh Yadav 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
West Indies (possible) – 1. Kieran Powell 2. Chandrapaul Hemraj 3. Shai Hope (wk) 4. Marlon Samuels 5. Shimron Hetmyer 6. Rovman Powell 7. Jason Holder © 8. Ashley Nurse 9. Keemo Paul 10. Devendra Bishoo 11. Kemar Roach.