India vs West Indies, 1st ODI Preview: India look to get back on the horse against confident Windies as Rohit Sharma returns
While India suffered a 3-0 series whitewash against South Africa, West Indies are high on confidence coming off a 3-2 T20 series victory against formidable England.
In a T20 World Cup year when it is all about the shortest format of the game, ODIs seem like an outlier. However, every time an ODI series is served up, it inevitably gives a reminder of the importance of the format, delivering one or two nail biters that go right down to the wire.
If nothing else, this series is a great opportunity for both India and West Indies to prepare for the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup which will be played in India, COVID-19 permitting.
Much to Dravid and Rohit's frustration
Indian head coach Rahul Dravid and newly appointed captain Rohit Sharma would have been looking forward to having a near full strength Indian side in a long time against West Indies.
However, COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works one once again with Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Navdeep Saini testing positive along with three other backroom staff.
All three of Dhawan, Rahul and Gaikwad unavailable
In the absence of KL Rahul, who is on leave from the first ODI due to his sister's wedding, COVID-19 has further left India short on resources. As a result, they have had to add Mayank Agrawal to the ODI squad who is currently undergoing a three day quarantine and will be available only on the match day.
In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Ruturaj Gaikwad, Agarwal is all set to open a batting with Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Kumar give stability to the Indian middle order.
Who'll be India's all-rounder?
But, in the absence of the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, India will have either one bowler or one batter short.
Deepak Hooda and Shardul Thakur offer the choice for the No. 6 spot, with Washington Sundar slotted at No. 7. Sundar is returning after a long injury layoff and was set to play in the South Africa ODIs but COVID-19 had other plans.
Debut for Avesh Khan
Deepak Chahar and Avesh Khan will be the Indian pacers, with Khan set to make his debut.
The famed spin bowling duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are all set to bowl in tandem once again as Ravi Bishnoi is likely to be held back for the T20s.
West Indies high on confidence
While India would like to get back on track after their 3-0 series whitewash against South Africa, West Indies are high on confidence coming off a 3-2 T20 series victory against formidable England.
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard made an appearance in his last post-match presentation with the song 'you can't keep a good man down'. He will have to reiterate that again with a few changes in personnel as compared to the T20I series.
Comeback time for Kemar Roach
Brandon King and Shai hope are expected to open the batting for the tourists, though Shamrah Brooks is also a good option. They have Nicholas Pooran and Darren Bravo in the middle order.
Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard are automatic picks. Comeback man Kemar Roach will join Alzarri Joseph to form West Indies' pace attack while Akeal Hosein and Hayden Walsh are likely to be their spin bowling options.
Predicted playing XIs
India - Rohit Sharma (c), Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda/Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Avesh Khan, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal
West Indies - Brandon King, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard (c), Fabian Allen/Hayden Walsh, Romario Shepherd/Odean Smith, Kemar Roach, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph
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