Venue: Queens’ Park Oval – Trinidad and Tobago
Date: Sunday 22, July
This one looks like a fun tour for the white ball teams from India. They kick off their tour of the West Indies with three ODIs that are all played at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago. The first of the five T20Is stays in the country – but at Brian Lara’s Cricket Academy – before the next two T20Is are to be played in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The tour wraps up with two more T20Is against the Windies, but this time on US soil in Florida at Central Broward Regional Park, the only purpose-built cricket stadium in the USA.
India will be arriving in the Windies on a high after taking down England in both the ODIs and the T20Is earlier this month. There was very little between the two countries entering the six matches, so to come away with identical 2-1 wins in the two formats is something that the Indian side should be proud of. With the T20 World Cup closing in, India looks to be rounding into white ball form at the right time.
The West Indies, on the other hand, are not in great form. They were pretty miserable against Bangladesh in the ODIs recently and given how good India can be it is important that they are at least competitive on home soil here.
All-rounder Jason Holder is back in the squad and the hope will be he can inspire some mettle in the team after their 3-0 defeat without him against Bangladesh. There have been changes based on form too, with pacer Aderson Phillip and another bowler in Romario Shepherd nothing being dropped after not picking up a single wicket combined in the latest series.
Holder will need to be as rested and reinvigorated as West Indies’ chief selector Desmond Haynes believes as without him the team lacks a certain punch that is needed at this level of the game.
One aspect of this tour that India will have t be aware of is the weather and the way that the sun and humidity make the pitches play. This is a very different assignment than the one they just faced in England, so the ability of the batsmen and bowlers to adapt will certainly be tested.
Captain Shikhar Dhawan is one player who will be looking to impress. He scored a total of just 41 runs in three ODIs against England, with two of those matches seeing him fail to reach double figures. Regulars like Virat Kohli, Jaspit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma are all missing from this squad, while vice-captain KL Rahul is also likely to miss the entire series – or at least the first portion of it – after testing positive for Covid last week.
This means that some of the younger and less experienced players in the India camp will need to step up and be counted.
India might be young, but the strength in depth the country has right now is impressive. The Windies have won just four of 15 ODIs in 2022 and three of those came against the Netherlands. I like India to take this match and go on to win the series either 2-1 or (more likely) 3-0. In terms of props, Shai Hope (3/1) is always a good shout to be the Windes’ top batsmen in this format while picking Dhawan to bounce back and pick up man of the match honors at 7/1 is also tempting.