India vs West Indies, 1st T20I Preview: Young and exciting crop of Windies players set to challenge Team India's big guns
It will be interesting to see the likes of Romario Shepherd, Rovman Powell and Odean Smith in action and the flavour that they bring along with them.
The Rohit Sharma show
India might have won the ODI series comprehensively by 3-0 without a lot of competition but rest assured that the T20I series will be a lot more competitive.
The West Indies cricketers, particularly this generation, are built for the shorter format of the game and the kind of power hitters and all-round abilities they possess in their squad, it will not be an easy ride for the Indian team under Rohit Sharma.
Rohit started off his tenure as India's permanent T20I captain with a 3-0 series victory over New Zealand. The captain was in sublime form in those matches and ended up as the top run scorer in the series with 159 runs from 3 matches at an average of 53 and strike rate of 154, with the help of 11 boundaries.
India's next best batter KL Rahul, who made 80 runs from just two innings, however, has been ruled out of the T20 series due to a side strain. Likewise, India's best bowler in the series, Axar Patel, who picked up four wickets from three matches at an average of 16.50, is also unavailable.
It does not help that Washington Sundar has also been ruled out of the T20I series due to a muscle injury that he sustained in the third ODI. Ravindra Jadeja is already unavailable due to injury.
As a result, India have added Deepak Hooda and Kuldeep Yadav to their squad.
Kishan, Surya set to play
Ishan Kishan, who went for big bucks in the recently concluded IPL 2022 auctions and also got a game in 2021 T20 World Cup, is the frontrunner to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma in the absence of KL Rahul. However, Ruturaj Gaikwad who has been in the squad for a long time and is awaiting his opportunities is also in with a shout.
Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav will bat at number 3 and 4. India have to take a call on Rishabh Pant with the T20Is and the Test matches against Sri Lanka coming up followed shortly by the Indian Premier League. They can rest Pant and Kishan can take the gloves.
However, if they do decide to play the flamboyant left hander, Venkatesh Iyer or Deepak Hooda will have to play ahead of Shreyas Iyer due to their ability with the ball as well.
Iyer or Hooda?
There is a temptation to play Venkatesh at number 6 but in the absence of another spin bowling option, Hooda might just get the nod. India will probably look to hand Ravi Bishnoi his debut while resting Yuzvendra Chahal.
The team can also think of playing two spinners, with Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav getting the nod. However, generally the template has been to go in with one finger spinner and one wrist spinner, which increases the chances for Deepak Hooda.
Windies' big-hitters galore
West Indies are just coming off an exciting 3-2 series victory against England. Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell were the top scorers in the series, with Powell standing out with a brilliant 107. Jason Holder picked up the most wickets, with 15 scalps at just 9.6.
West Indies are likely to go in with more or less the same playing XI which competed against England. Full-time captain Kieron Pollard is expected to return to lead the side. It will be interesting to see the likes of Romario Shepherd, Rovman Powell and Odean Smith in action and the flavour that they bring along with them.
Predicted playing XIs
India - Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer/Deepak Hooda, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Siraj/Avesh Khan
West Indies - Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard (c), Fabian Allen, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Akeal Hosein, Sheldon Cottrell
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