West Indies vs India – T20I Series Preview

It is always about carrying the learning of the past failures into the present and with the T20 World Cup coming up in October next year, the focus of Team India will now shift towards building their side for the shortest format of the game. And, they have a lot of work to do in that regard.

Despite boasting of the best T20 League in the world- the Indian Premier League- it is fair to say that Team India lacks firepower and X-Factor when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. And, the ranking shows it too. Kohli’s men are currently ranked 5th in the world and will come into the T20I series against the West Indies on the back of two back-to-back series defeats [1-2 vs New Zealand & 0-2 vs Australia] earlier in the year.

To be fair, India hasn’t focused on the T20 format too much in the past three years. Since the last World T20 2016, the Indian team has used the T20 format as an extension of 50-over cricket as they built towards the 2019 World Cup. But, with the 50-over World Cup out of the way now, the focus is expected to shift towards building a side for the shortest format of the game. And, the signs were evident in the team selected for the T20Is against the West Indies.

The likes of Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal have been ousted from the last T20 playing 11 with the selectors giving chances to Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey in the middle-order. Pandey had a great last leg of the IPL and is also one of the leading run-getters in the ongoing One-day series against WI while Shreyas Iyer too has been knocking on the national sides’ door for some time now. Shikhar Dhawan makes his return to the side after a fractured finger had ruled him out of the World Cup.

Krunal Pandya has managed to retain his place in the side as an all-rounder alongside Ravindra Jadeja while Hardik Pandya has been rested after he had suffered a groin injury in the semi-final against the Kiwis.

Washington Sundar has made a return to the side after Nidahas Trophy while the right-arm leg-spinner, Rahul Chahar, who has impressed everyone with his guile, mystery, and temperament in the IPL as well for India A, has received a maiden call-up to the Indian side. Jasprit Bumrah has been rested from the white-ball leg of the Caribbean tour, giving selectors a chance to try out the new line of pacers in Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Khaleel Ahmed.

Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini were the top-2 leading wicket-takers for India A against West Indies A in the one-day series currently while Chahar has repeatedly shown his worth in the Powerplay overs for the CSK.

India will kick start their T20I leg of the tour with two T20Is at Florida before the base moves to Guyana for the third and final match. It is also a golden chance for India to set their record straight against the World Champions. Ever since losing the semi-final against the West Indies in 2016, India has proceeded to lose two out of three T20Is plated against the hosts in Florida. With the hosts not in the best of form in T20Is [11 wins in 33 T20Is since the 2016 World Twenty 20], it offers the Men in Blue the best chance to redeem themselves as they aim to build their side for the T20 World Cup Down Under.

West Indies have bolstered their squad with the addition of off-spinner Sunil Narine, all-rounder Kieron Pollard for the first two IT20s. All-rounder Andre Russell has also been included in the 14-member squad but will have to undergo fitness Test ahead of the first T20I in Florida.

Wicket-keeper batsman Anthony Bramble, who has played 12 T20 matches, has earned a maiden call-up to squad for three-match T20I series.

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