India will aim to back their game plan and strengths as Windies tour tees off

The two-Test series is being viewed as the starting point of a transition period for Rohit Sharma's side, following their loss to Australia in the World Test Championship

By Reuters

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Indian cricketer Virat Kohli meets legendary West Indies cricketer Garfield Sobers, 86, and his wife, Pru Kirby, during a training session, in Barbados. - PTI
Indian cricketer Virat Kohli meets legendary West Indies cricketer Garfield Sobers, 86, and his wife, Pru Kirby, during a training session, in Barbados. - PTI

Published: Tue 11 Jul 2023, 7:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Jul 2023, 7:09 PM

India will need significant contributions from their batters to compensate for a lack of firepower in their depleted pace attack in a multi-format series, which starts with the first Test at Windsor Park in Dominica on Wednesday, July 12

The two-Test series is being viewed as the starting point of a transition period for Rohit Sharma's side, who lost to Australia in the World Test Championship final last month.

The visitors are without injured spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and have rested seamer Mohammed Shami, leaving Mohammed Siraj, who has played 19 tests, as the leader of an inexperienced pace battery.

Established bowlers Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have been overlooked in favour of Jaydev Unadkat and Navdeep Saini, who have played two tests each, and the uncapped Mukesh Sharma.

While they remain the world's top-ranked test team and begin as favourites against eighth-placed West Indies, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said there would be no complacency against a side who beat England in successive home series.

"We, as a team, respect West Indies. They are not the ones to be taken lightly," the batsman told reporters on Monday.

"West Indies has performed well at home during the last couple of years or so, especially in Tests. We are looking to give our 100% and backing our gameplan and strengths."

Change is also coming to the batter order, where Yashasvi Jaiswal is set to make his test debut in place of stubborn veteran Cheteshwar Pujara at number three.

Jaiswal has already built a reputation as a hard-hitting batter in the Indian Premier League, an approach which stands in stark contrast to Pujara's often dour displays.

"I am so happy for Jaiswal, he has worked so hard, scored runs for Mumbai in domestic cricket and in the IPL," Rahane said.

"He is an exciting talent and the way he is batting is nice."

The Indian team s beset with other challenges.

Cheteshwar Pujara's much-debated exit has created a slot in the Indian top-order and the immensely talented Mumbai left-hander will hope that he lives up to his 'name' and promise that he has shown at the first-class level before being thrown at the deep end of the pool.

While the strait-jacketed solution is putting the debutant at one drop but Shubman Gill is more naturally suited in the middle-order.

Virat Kohli too needs some tall knocks. The canny West Indies pacers could exploit his problems outside the off-stump channel and a string of low scores will again raise questions if yardstick of dealing with a Cheteshwar Pujara is different from dealing with him.

The five-man bowling attack, led by 19-Test old Mohammed Siraj and supported by Shardul Thakur with nine long-form games in his kitty, does look really thin on experience in comparison to the West Indies pace attack.

It will again boil down to how West Indies measure up against the guile and artistry of Ravichandran Ashwin (474 wickets) and Ravindra Jadeja (268), who have close to 750 Test scalps between them.

The choice of four bowlers is automatic but picking one among Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat and Navdeep Saini might not be an easy proposition.

West Indies will see the series as a chance to lift the mood after they failed to qualify for this year's 50-overs World Cup in India, a new low for the two-time champions.

"It's important to start well," home captain Kraigg Brathwaite said on Sunday.


"We generally know how the surfaces will play, and we already know India's team, so it's important from now to mentally prepare, and understand the plans we want both as a bowling unit and as batters."

The Windsor Park hasn't hosted a Test match in the last six years but this is one format where the assortment Caribbean nations have been at their best in recent years.


India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Navdeep Saini.

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Jermaine Blackwood (VC), Joshua Da Silva (WK), Alick Athanaze, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kirk McKenzie, Jomel Warrican.


India tour of West Indies 2023:

July 12- July 16: 1st Test, Windsor Park, Roseau, Dominica

July 20-Jul 24: 2nd Test, Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

July 27: 1st ODI, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados

July 29: 2nd ODI, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados

August 1: 3rd ODI, Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad

August 3: 1st T20I, Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad

August 6: 2nd T20I, Providence Stadium, Guyana

August 8: 3rd T20I, Providence Stadium, Guyana

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