Brathwaite & Hope key for Windies success
As West Indies get ready to face the number one ranked team in the world, their hopes rest on the pair of Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope.
Kraigg Brathwaite: Brathwaite adds the much-required stability to their batting and has a calming influence on the rest of the batting line up. He knows how to bat long and has shown it in the past with unbeaten scores of 142 and 60 that helped Windies pull off a historic five-wicket win over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Brathwaite’s knocks of 134 and 95 were equally important in Windies' famous win over England at Leeds. He has shown the appetite to score big and spend time at the crease.
In the seven Tests that he has played against India, he has hit four fifties but is yet to score a century. Brathwaite will be expected to tackle India's new-ball attack, meanwhile, his solid footwork will give him a slight edge over his companions while facing spinners. For India to show their dominance, it will be important to get his wicket cheaply.
Shai Hope: Every time Hope comes out to bat, he is expected to score runs. He has had a mixed bag of a career so far. He failed in his first 11 games and finally showed his class with twin centuries against England at Leeds that led Windies to a famous win.
He is technically strong, has a calm temperament, wide range of strokes which make him one of the most sound batsmen in the current Windies Test setup. He can play well both off his front foot and back foot and is gifted with a robust defense. All said and done, he has a habit to throw his wicket away after getting off to a good start which is a major reason why he has failed to live up to his potential.
For Windies to have hope in the series, Shai needs to deliver.
Indian pitches are batsman-friendly especially for the first 150 odd overs and then turn square. With Jadeja and Ashwin in the squad, we may end up seeing rank turners which is not good for cricket especially Indian cricket as they have Australia and New Zealand tours coming up. India look favorites but Windies can upstage them. For this to happen Brathwaite and Hope need to do what they do best i.e. play to their strengths.