One game old but the ODI series between India and West Indies is yet to take off after the first game in Guyana was washed out after just 13 overs. India, who dominated the T20 series 3-0, would have expected a similar whitewash in the ODI series as well considering the recent form of both sides.
While West Indies might have plenty of raw talent and brute power, the one aspect where they have been found severely lacking is consistency. Their up-and-down performances proved to be their Achilles’ heel in the 2019 World Cup as well and that’s what Virat Kohli’s side will look to exploit in the second ODI at Port-of-Spain in Trinidad on Sunday (August 11).
India are looking for answers to some puzzles as they look to rebuild afresh heading into the next World Cup in four years’ time. The selectors want to identify and bank on youth for some time to come.
The team management gave young Mumbai batsman a much-awaited call-up in the first ODI and the Delhi Capitals skipper was slated to come in at No. 4 position — a slot that has been under scrutiny for some time now.
Iyer knows he has tough competition in the form for KL Rahul, who can also double up as the reserve opener in this side. The other spot which will be closely watched is the wicketkeeping position with Rishabh Pant finally taking the gloves in ODIs with former India skipper MS Dhoni taking a break.
Pant found some touch, scoring a fifty in the third T20 game but is yet to convince his critics that he can bat with control in the shorter format of the game.
The series is also a litmus test for Kedar Jadhav, who had a patchy World Cup after barely recovering from a shoulder injury that he suffered in IPL-12. With youngster like Shubman Gill, knocking hard at the selectors’ door, Jadhav will need plenty of performance under his belt to hold on to his spot in the ODI team.
In the bowling department, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will look to find some form after indifferent performances in the World Cup and the IPL 2019 as well.
Skipper Kohli will also consider blooding his Delhi teammate Navdeep Saini as the third seamer with left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed taking a hammering at the hands of Evin Lewis in the rain-hit first ODI. Saini bowled with good pace and control in the three-match T20 series.
The West Indies, on the other hand, will expect more from the willow of Chris Gayle, who looked really patchy while scoring a 31-ball four runs in the first ODI. Gayle will have a point to prove to the West Indies selectors after they ignored his request for a farewell Test at his homeground in Jamaica.