West Indies Confident Ahead Of ODI Series
The sportsbooks give the West Indies a very slim chance of competing and winning the three match ODI series. The first ODI will take place in Chennai on 15 December. West Indies go in with odds of 5 and India are the betting favourites with odds of 1.16.
While the bookies appear to have written off the West Indies, their captain Kieron Pollard is a stubborn man. He believes that his side will offer the men in blue a stiff challenge in all three ODIs. Pollard has every right to be confident in his team’s ability. The Men in Maroon had a good T20 series against India, even though they came out on the losing side.
New Faces Strengthen West Indies Squad
The West Indian batsmen do well in T20 cricket because they are generally powerful and like to hit from ball one. The 50-over format will require them to curtail their aggression and not throw away their wickets. This is going to be the biggest challenge for the Calypso Kings. Pollard, however, believes they are up for the challenge. His ODI squad has six new faces who did not play any part in the T20 series.
Some of the new players coming into the side include Shai Hope, Royston Chase Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd and Sunil Ambris. The batting department looks strong for the West Indies provided the batsmen play to their potential. The bowling unit does look a little weak, especially in the middle overs.
This is where Pollard will have to showcase his captaincy skills. He will have to mix up his bowlers, chop and change and be innovative in his field setting. Pollard might also have to send down a few overs himself as he has the most experience when it comes to playing in India.
India Playing A Strong Team
The West Indies are going to have their work cut out. It is imperative for them to win the first ODI in Chennai and go 1-0 up in the series to put the men in blue under pressure. India have the momentum with them after putting up a brilliant performance in the final T20 to win the series.
India are playing at full strength as a number of players from the T20 squad automatically make their way into the ODI squad. The one change is at the top of the order as Shikhar Dhawan has been withdrawn due to injury and has been replaced by Mayank Agarwal. Given how well KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma played in the third T20, it is quite likely that this opening combination will be tested in the first ODI.
India’s middle-order which has been under scrutiny for the last couple of years looks a lot better as Shreyas Iyer should take the number 4 slot while Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav might take the number 5 and 6 spots – depending on the team combination.
The bowling line-up also looks strong as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Deepak Chahar are the fast bowlers and the three spinners are Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Pant Under The Scanner
The one player that will be under immense pressure will be the out-of-form Rishabh Pant. The selectors have decided to back him yet again. He is likely to play all three ODI games since there is no reserve wicket-keeper in the side.
Pant had another poor showing in the T20 series. It led the Indian public took to social media to question his place in the side. They also criticized the selectors for continuing to give him opportunities instead of trying out Sanju Samson.