Before the ongoing ODI series between India and the West Indies began, India were considered overwhelming favourites to win, even without Dhoni and Tendulkar in their ranks. But after the thriller at Cuttack where India won by a wicket after coming perilously close to losing, Sehwag’s men are likely to treat the visitors with a little more respect.
The wicket at Vizag has traditionally favoured batsmen and the game can be expected to be a high scoring thriller. The team winning the toss could opt to field first, although I still maintain that the West Indians would be better served if they batted, after the toss.
Rohit Sharma’s form was the brightest spot for India, at Cuttack. Sharma is yet to do justice to his immense talent and the innings of 72 could be just the catalyst he needs to convert his potential into runs and a long international career, in the bargain.
Stand by batsmen, Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane, could get their moment in the sun, if India managed to seal the series in the third or fourth game. The current slump in Yuvraj Singh’s form and fitness could prove a blessing in disguise for the Indian selectors who have been loath to give extended opportunities to prospects, as evidenced in the case of Badrinath. Building bench strength can only benefit the team but that must be succeeded by putting a rotation policy in place, if India are to harvest long-term benefits.
Praveen Kumar has been ruled out of this series as well as the Australian tour owing to fractured ribs and that could prove opportune to the likes of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.
In Bishoo’s absence, the visitors have limited spin options in the form of Martin and Narine. Martin who had a good home series against the touring Indians, earlier this year, proved a trifle expensive at Cuttack, having been given the new ball by his skipper. The West Indies could opt for Narine’s off-spin in place of Martin’s leg breaks, at Vizag. Ravi Rampaul, who was the visitors’ best bowler in the recently concluded test series, missed the first ODI. And Roach’s exploits with the new ball before the dew factor came into play would have thrilled the team management. An endearing feature of the West Indies team has been the discipline their bowlers have shown in sticking to a game plan, and bowling a steady line, all through the test series.
Bravo’s continuing good form is a great sign; add Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, to the mix and Sammy’s young squad could be the nucleus of better things to come. Pollard’s vulnerability against spin was all too evident at Cuttack but on a benign Vizag wicket, the explosive batsman could prove the difference between victory and defeat.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.