Rohit & Co. ready for Windies challenge
After a dominating 2-0 series win in Tests and a convincing 4-1 victory in ODIs, India is all set to face the Windies in the shortest format of the game; a format in which the visitors have been the most competitive in the recent past.
Ahead of the 3-match T20I series in which plenty of fresh faces for both the teams are expected to play, here’s what to expect from both the camps.
From the Indian dressing room:
In the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma will once again shoulder the responsibility of captaincy and he will have a plethora of new players at his disposal who’ve been selected in the squad, although it will miss the most experienced member of the squad.
The biggest news for the hosts will be the absence of former captain MS Dhoni who has been dropped from the T20I squad. It will be interesting to see if Rishab Pant or Dinesh Karthik don the gloves behind the sticks.
The last time India played a T20I, all three openers – Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul – were a part of the playing eleven with Rahul coming in at number 3 and they are expected to score the bulk of runs, with Kohli being rested. Rohit is not short of options in the middle order too as along with Pant and Karthik, Manish Pandey has also been named in the XII.
After earning an India call-up for England T20I series, Krunal Pandya continues to be in the squad and is expected to make his debut at Eden.
India’s bowling looks solid too. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead the pace attack, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will look to bamboozle the opposition with their spin.
Besides these four, Khaleel Ahmed has also been named in the XII. In all, India will atleast field one debutant against the Windies.
From the Windies dressing room:
8 of the 15 members of the Windies squad didn’t participate in the preceding Test and ODI series, which can act as a blessing in disguise for the visitors as the arrival of power hitters such as Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran will bolster their squad.
Windies’ batting is expected to revolve around Darren Bravo, returning to the team after 2 years, who will look to play the anchor role while the likes of Pooran, Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer play their shots with freedom.
Windies will be without the services of Andre Russell who has been ruled out with an injury and hasn’t arrived in the country yet.
Their bowling still remains a cause of concern though. While Carlos Brathwaite and Russell will add a bit of zing to their attack, Keemo Paul and Obed McCoy haven’t troubled the hosts as such. Ashley Nurse will have the company of Fabian Allen and the uncapped Khary Pierre.
The last time Carlos Brathwaite played at the Eden Gardens in Windies’ colours, he smacked four sixes in four balls off Stokes to help his team clinch a famous victory in ICC World T20 2016. Coach Stuart Law will be hoping that he produces something special to lift the spirits of his side which, barring a couple of matches, has been outclassed by the home team. With him at the helm, the visitors will look to play a fearless brand of cricket.
The first T20I will be played in Kolkata on November 4 starting 7 IST.