In less than 24 hours, Team India will be taking on the Islanders on their turf in the first ODI of a three-match series. Even though the recent times haven’t really been kind to Windies, facing a primed West Indies at their home is no mean feat.
India will be without a string of their star players with Shikhar Dhawan handed over the charge to take point as the captain against the Islanders. India has been in exemplary form in the shorter format of the games that recently saw them running riot against a full-strength England in the latter’s backyard.
As India guns up to take the battle to the formidable hosts under glacial circumstances, we would take a look at two players who would probably be missing out on the opening ODI despite all the hype of watching the youngsters perform.
#1 Ruturaj Gaikwad
The hard-hitting youngster would be a primary spoke in India’s wheels as the biennial extravaganza is almost on the doorstep and would probably be needing the finest of the squad to assemble. Given the current status and the equation of both sides, India would probably be inclined in fielding the perfect blend of experience and youth with the limelight slightly heavier on the latter.
With that said, it is needless to say that Ishan Kishan would continue being the Indian opener, especially given his intermittent blitzkriegs that have set the tone perfectly against a heavy-weight South Africa. Gaikwad could have been the man at the other end if India would have opted for someone else to lead the charge with. With Dhawan being the captain, one opening slot is already booked, which makes Gaikwad expendable. Add to that the inexperience of Gaikwad in a 50-over format and two plus two makes four.
#2 Axar Patel
This is a tricky call and the beanpole would definitely have been India’s first choice, if not for a string of modest performances that has shed a long shadow upon the offing. Also, the Caribbean surfaces are known for the deadly drift that does its herculean trick, especially in the early overs. This makes Shardul Thakur an irresistible option. Ravindra Jadeja will be the first pick as an all-rounder, while there will be room for another.
Given the nasty surfaces of the Queen’s Oval with the breeze doing its menace, that makes it almost impossible for the batters to judge the seam. Shardul Thakur has always been known to create wonders, especially on surfaces where the ball tends to move and given the belter of pitches that West Indies comes up with, Axar Patel would be on standby as India hopes to work out wonders.