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    2019
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West Indies tour of India 2019 – the prelude

West Indies tour of India 2019 – the prelude

West Indies travel to India to face an undisputed Blue Army side where the two sides will play a total of six matches, comprising 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. The series kicks off on 6th of December with the first T20I taking place in Hyderabad.

India enter this series at the back of majestic performances and series wins against many top sides including the West Indies earlier this year in the Caribbean. India stormed through them in that tour, getting series wins in all 3 formats, ODI’s, T20I’s and Tests with the hosts not winning a single match in the entire series. Although India are tipped to be clear favorites for this tour, the visitors cannot be taken lightly, as they possess big power hitters and match winners in their squad.

The West Indies squad was revealed on 28thNovember by coach Phil Simmons with Keiron Pollard leading the side in both formats. Batsman and wicket keeper Shai Hope and bowler Alzarri Joseph have not been included in their squad for the T20I’s. These two changes have been enforced following the T20I’s series defeat against Afghanistan. 

However, their exclusion is likely to be part of the team management’s decision to try out different combinations ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Meanwhile, some other notable absentees in Nicholas Pooran (suspension due to ball tampering), Fabian Allen (knee injury) and Denesh Ramdin (hamstring injury) are back available for selection. 

For the ODI squad, the selectors have gone with the same squad that thrashed the Afghans 3-0 in Lucknow with Shai Hope continuing to serve as Kieron Pollard’s deputy after being dropped from the T20I squad. 

T20 SquadKieron Pollard (c), Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Denesh Ramdin, Sherfane Rutherford, Lendl Simomns, Keserick Williams, Hayden Walsh Jr.

ODI SquadKieron Pollard (c), Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.

The skipper Virat Kohli returns for India after being rested against Bangladesh in the T20s. Kuldeep Yadav and pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami have also been recalled for the upcoming three-match T20I series at the expense of Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed and Shardul Thakur. 

Ravindra Jadeja also returns to the squad after missing the series against Bangladesh. Up top, Sanju Samson was initially left out of the T20I squad, however, after suffering a knee injury in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the series and the Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman is now back in the squad replacing him. Aside from retaining his spot in the T20I squad, Shivam Dube has earned his maiden call-up to the ODI squad. Deepak Chahar has earned a recall as well at the expense of Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini. However, MS Dhoni still remains absent from any sort of participation in the ODI team since the 2019 World Cup semi-final exit at the hands of the Kiwis.

T20I SquadVirat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

ODI SquadVirat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Over the years, India and West indies have played a total of 14 T20I’s against each other with the Carribean side winning five while India getting the better out of them on eight occasions. In recent years, India have emerged victorious and the dominant side over the Windies, not only winning the series 3-0 earlier this year, but also defeating them when they last visited in 2018. Talking about ODI’s, looking at the entire history, both India and West Indies are neck to neck in terms of victories, having 61 and 62 respectively. However, the comparison is nowhere close in the recent years, with the Asian side clearly being the more dominant side. For individuals playing online cricket games, India could be the team to target ahead of this series.

Looking at this series, India will be relying on the opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, now that Shikhar Dhawan has picked up a knee injury. Sharma requires no introduction in the shorter format, although there have always been question marks on Rahul’s consistency. However, the Karnataka opener, who is now closing in on 1000 T20I runs, averages 42.34 in T20I’s with an impressive striker rate of 145. 

He looks to have form under his belt and will expect a strong series ahead. With the opening position suiting him and with the field restrictions in play, Rahul will be looking to continue to fine form that helped him get three 50+ scores in six Syed Mushtaq Ali matches. He could be a great pick over the matches for Fantasy cricket.

Other players to watch for India over this period are Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja. Iyer has been making all the right noises since he has cemented his spot in the middle order of the Indian team. With his classy style and strong stature, he dictates play in the middle, with his swift transition from a conservative approach to a hard hitting one. With Jadeja, no words are required. ‘Sir’ looks to arguably be in the form of his life, not only with the ball but also his bat.  His batting skills will be much needed lower down the order, allowing the team to accelerate the innings towards a big total. Both of them could be essential fantasy picks in fantasy cricket leaguesin the weeks to come.

For West Indies, Kieron Pollard will be hoping to lead from the front and get some runs under his belt. With his experience, he will be key to the visitors whilst making smart and vital decisions to defeat the dominant Men in Blue. Expectations will be high from two of their fiery middle order batsmen in Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmeyer. West Indies will be relying on their ‘’Mr. Reliable’ Shae Hope to be the thorn in flesh of the Indians in ODI’s. Apart from the experienced players in the team, they’ve also opted for the youth power of Rutherford, King, Pierre and co who have displaced the likes of Andre Russell and Bravo, giving them exposure to playing big experienced sides like India. There could be cheap gems in Fantasy Cricketterms with the youngsters emerging, whilst having popular picks like Hope, Pooran, Pollard and co.

On a whole, West Indies look to have a tough task ahead of them with the hosts expected to be too strong for the visitors. However, India cannot afford to take their opponents lightly. Decent performances against Afghanistan and their awareness to Indian conditions playing regularly in the IPL could prove to be the spanner in the works, preparing neutrals for a great contest to watch out for in the coming few weeks.

Schedule:

Dec 06 Fri India v West Indies, 1st T20I Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai 1:30 PM

Dec 08 India v West Indies, 2nd T20I Thiruvananthapuram 1:30 PM

Dec 11 India v West Indies, 3rd T20I Hyderabad 1:30 PM

Dec 15 India v West Indies, 1st ODI MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai 8:30 AM

Dec 18 India v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam 8:30 AM

Dec 22 India v West Indies, 3rd ODI Barabati Stadium, Cuttack 8:30 AM

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