India vs West Indies, 1st Test: Match Preview
With all the buzz around Rohit Sharma's exclusion from the test squad to concerns over Virat Kohli's fitness, the Indian team is ready to take on West Indies in the First test match at Saurashtra cricket stadium, Rajkot. The scorching heat at Rajkot with the temperature around 40° Celsius will be a test for the fitness of both the teams.
The Rajkot pitch is expected to support pacers as BCCI has reportedly asked for bouncy pitches. This decision has been taken keeping in mind the long tour of Australia in November this year. Virat Kohli would be keen to go with three pacers and two spinners in the lineup while West Indies will probably be going with four pacers and one spinner in the game.
The fight for the opener slots for Team India gets intense among the young Prithvi Shaw and an experienced Mayank Agarwal with one of them getting a chance to open the innings with KL Rahul. With mountains of runs in domestic cricket this year and an important knock of 90 runs in the practice match against West Indies, the chances of inclusion of Mayank Agarwal is high. The middle order looks quite settled for India with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane coming down at position 3, 4 and 5 respectively. In the absence of Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik, the 20-year old prodigy Rishabh Pant would be keeping the gloves for team India. The spin bowling attack is expected to be led by Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja with Kuldeep Yadav missing the first game. With BCCI demanding for bouncy pitches for the two test matches, it would be an important test for the pacers with the trio of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and, Mohammad Siraj getting a game.
The West Indies team led by Jason Holder will be going with the mindset of making an upset against India and to give a message to not take the team lightly. The experienced bowler Kemar Roach is set to miss the first test due to the sad demise of his grandmother. The all-rounder KC Braithwaite would be pairing up with Sunil Ambris to open the innings with Kieran Powell coming at number 3. Shai Hope, Roston Chase, and Shane Dowrich are expected to come down at number 4, 5 and 6 respectively. Devendra Bishoo may be the lone spinner in the lineup. In the absence of Kemar Roach, SH Lewis is set to make his test debut for the West Indies. The pace attack would be led by captain Jason Holder with S Gabriel, K Paul and SH Lewis supporting the skipper.
Probable playing XI:
KL Rahul, M Agarwal, C Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Rahane (VC), Pant, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammad Siraj.
KC Braithwaite, Sunil Ambris, K Powell, S Hope, R Chase, S Dowrich, J Holder (C), D Bishoo, K Paul, S Gabriel, and SH Lewis.