India look to start post-World Cup cycle on right foot

Match details

Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground, Lauderhill, Florida
August 3 & 4; 20:00 IST
Live on Sony Pictures Network, streaming on SonyLiv

The main picture

The World Cup marked the end of a cycle. India’s fast-bowling resources got richer in the post-2015 World Cup cycle and the new-placed faith in wrist-spin, after the Champions Trophy final loss in mid-2017, revitalised the one-day team. It was, however, an ultimately unsatisfactory four-year period for India, who failed to win a global tournament. While the wait for a major trophy goes on, India, who have most of the bases covered, don’t quite have to go back to the drawing board at the start of this new cycle.

The selection of Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer in the T20I and ODI squads for the tour of West Indies is a reaffirmation that the immediate objective for selectors and the team management is to solidify the middle order. The inclusion of fast bowlers Navdeep Saini and Khaleel Ahmed in the limited-overs squads is as much a reward for their performances for India A and IPL franchises as another reminder of India’s current fast-bowling arsenal that enables this rotation.

The 15-man T20 squad has enough variety for Virat Kohli to pick the best playing XI for the conditions but the challenge for the Indian captain will also be to make almost every squad member happy, particularly those who haven’t been named in the ODI squad (Deepak Chahar, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, and Rahul Chahar).

West Indies were part of a handful of thrillers at the World Cup in England, where their ninth-place finish was a byproduct of their playing one-day cricket the T20 way. The Evin Lewises, Shimron Hetmyers, Nicholas Poorans are obviously more suited to the pace of T20 cricket and playing against players who they are team-mates of in the IPL should bring the best out of the West Indies.

They lost a home T20 series to England before the World Cup, with their batting failing to live up to potential on that occasion. The T20 squad for the series against India has depth and variety, with the inclusion of Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine lending experience.

As a contest, West Indies against India in T20 cricket is as good as it gets. With the talent in both the ranks, expect to be entertained with back-to-back T20Is over the weekend.

Weather forecast and pitch report

The Central Broward Regional Park Stadium has predominantly been a high-scoring venue.

Thunderstorm and showers have been forecast on Saturday and Sunday.

India vs West Indies 1st & 2nd T20 Dream11 team prediction

Rohit Sharma, Evin Lewis, KL Rahul, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Keemo Paul, Deepak Chahar, Oshane Thomas, Washington Sundar, Sunil Narine

India vs West Indies 1st & 2nd T20 playing 11

Possible India playing 11 for 1st & 2nd T20: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 KL Rahul, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Krunal Pandya/Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Navdeep Saini

Possible West Indies playing 11 for 1st & 2nd T20: 1 Carlos Brathwaite (c), 2 Evin Lewis, 3 John Campbell, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Rovman Powell, 8 Khary Pierre, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Oshane Thomas

Match prediction

With thunderstorms and showers forecast, and the firepower in the batting line-ups, both teams will prefer chasing. The onus is, therefore, on the bowlers to find a way to stymie the batsmen. The team who bowl better will bolster their chances of winning.

Your opinion...