The hosts will be trying to bounce back following the shocks of the Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
India is preparing for a home World Cup, fine-tuning their lineup with just over two months till the big event. The West Indies will have no say in the matter.
While one-day internationals will be the most closely watched format of international cricket in the coming weeks, the West Indies may be wondering what they’re aiming to accomplish when they play 50-over cricket. Of course, they’ll want to get back up after the shocks of the Qualifier in Zimbabwe, but what will they get back up for?
With no World Cup to prepare for, West Indies ODI cricket has no bigger context for the time being. There are no World Cup Super League points to be won, and there is no possibility of them failing to qualify for the 2027 World Cup, which will include 14 teams who will qualify based on their ODI standings.
Fans of the West Indies, on the other hand, should not mistake the lack of a larger context for a lack of purpose. While it’s tempting to see the team’s inability to qualify for the World Cup as evidence of their irreversible slide as a cricketing force, the reality isn’t quite so dire. The top Associate teams have made white-ball cricket more competitive than it has ever been, and the distance between the world’s ninth and thirteenth-best ODI sides has never been smaller. It just so happens that the sport is expanding at the same time that the World Cup is shrinking.
The West Indies will do well to put the Qualifier behind them, forget about the World Cup, and stop obsessing about history. Shai Hope and Brandon King should not feel any worse about missing out on the World Cup than Brandon McMullen or Harry Tector simply because they play for a team that once included Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards.
The future of West Indies cricket is too entwined with the sport’s finances and geopolitics for a single group of players to make any serious impact. What they can do in this series is keep focused on the next ball, and then the one after that, and let their opponents worry about things like World Cups.
West Indies LWLTL (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
In the spotlight
After 47 games, he has five ODI hundreds, including two against India, a 35-plus average, and a 100-plus strike rate. There aren’t many cricketing reasons why Shimron Hetmyer hasn’t played a 50-over game for the West Indies since July 2021; he’ll be hoping that this fresh start can revitalize his career in maroon.
Despite facing stiff competition in the spin department, Kuldeep Yadav has been a constant in India’s one-day international assault this year, appearing in eight of the team’s nine games and taking 15 wickets at an average of 21.13. He has a good record in the West Indies, where he has 11 wickets in seven games at 20.00; only South Africa (13.88) has a better average among the countries and regions in which he has played ODIs. Another strong performance here will keep him ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal as India’s top 50-over wristspinner.
With Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas returning from long absences, Gudakesh Motie, Yannic Cariah, and Jayden Seales returning from injury, and Jason Holder, Nicholas Pooran, and Keemo Paul missing, the West Indies will field a new-look lineup as they attempt to make a fresh start as an ODI side.
West Indies: 1 Brandon King, 2 Kyle Mayers, 3 Keacy Carty, 4 Shai Hope (captain and wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, 7 Romario Shepherd, 8 Kevin Sinclair, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Gudakesh Motie, Yannic Cariah, and Oshane Thomas; 11 Jayden Seales
India’s ODI lineup has recently included three allrounders: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and either Axar Patel or Shardul Thakur, depending on whether they choose to play an extra spinner or seamer. In Bridgetown, they’ll likely have to make that decision, as well as two others, with Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson vying for the wicketkeeper’s slot and a possible three-way struggle for the two seamers’ spots, with Mohammed Siraj sidelined for the ODIs.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson/Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Axar Patel/Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Umran Malik, 11 Jaydev Unadkat/Mukesh Kumar
Pitch and conditions
During the West Indies’ ODI series against New Zealand in August 2022, Kensington Oval hosted all three matches. The surfaces for that series produced first-inning totals of 190, 212, and 301, respectively, and had something for seamers and spinners. While fast bowlers Trent Boult, Jason Holder, and Tim Southee took the most wickets, fingerspinners Kevin Sinclair, Akeal Hosein, and Mitchell Santner finished with economy rates below five.
That series, on the other hand, had day-night games. All three ODIs in this series will be played during the day, keeping Indian television viewers in mind. With a 20% probability of rain on Thursday, the first ODI could be impacted by the weather. The weather prognosis for the second ODI on Saturday is bleaker, with a 50% probability of rain.
Stats and trivia
- India has won the last eight One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against the West Indies. Their most recent defeat was in Chennai in December of 2019.
- Mohammed Siraj (20.72) has the highest ODI average of any Indian bowler with at least 40 ODI wickets.
- Hope is 171 runs away from becoming the 11th West Indian batter to reach 5000 runs in one-day internationals. Meanwhile, Rovman Powell (975) and Brandon King (969) are very close to 1000 points.
- Jadeja needs nine wickets to become India’s seventh ODI bowler to achieve 200. If he succeeds, he will be the first Indian player since Kapil Dev (3783 runs and 253 wickets) to accomplish the 2000 runs and 200 wickets double in one-day internationals.
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