India vs West Indies series: 3 things to look forward to in the second ODI
Clinching the Twenty20 International series in an emphatic manner, India now inherently have their eyes set on the next prize - the one-day contest. India certainly appears to be the dominant side on paper, but the unpredictable West Indies squad always relishes a challenge.
Experimentation has been the buzzword in the Indian campaign; with the panel of selectors gambling on the number 4 spot with numerous alternatives in the recent past, although in vain, as it seems to be a dramatic game of musical chairs that refuses to end. It remains to be seen if there is even a hint of a solution to an unsolved problem. West Indies have their own set of problems to deal with, spearheaded by absurd batsmanship.
Relentless rain halted the first One-Day International in the Providence Stadium, forcing the fixture to be abandoned. Subsequently, India will lock horns against Jason Holder and his men in the second ODI on Sunday, August 11 at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.
As the Indian side prepares for the Calypso tussle, we look at 3 important elements to look out for as we head into the crucial encounter.
All eyes on Shreyas Iyer
Since India's desolating elimination from the unfulfilled World Cup 2019, there's been an emphasis on grooming young talent for future endeavours. The second One-Day International will provide the perfect opportunity for skipper Virat Kohli to improvise with the team combination. Strike rotation during the middle phases of the innings has been an issue to concern for the Men in Blue.
Predominantly classical in his approach, Shreyas Iyer is gifted with the ability of timing and placement. Often denoted as the best player of spin bowling in the domestic circuit, he is renowned for being a ferocious striker of the cricket ball.
Shreyas Iyer was immediately drafted into the playing eleven for the opening one-day match, after warming the bench in the Twenty20 series. Having represented India in 6 one-day internationals, the Mumbai local has accumulated 210 runs, with two half-centuries at a brisk average of 42 in his limited share of opportunities. Oscillating in an out of the squad for a long time now, the elegant right-hander would be desperate to cement his spot in the national set-up. Perhaps, Shreyas Iyer is the optimal solution to India's middle-order conundrum.
Khaleel or Saini?
Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini are undoubtedly two extremely promising talents. Heading into the second limited-overs international game, the Indian think tank will be forced to pick between the duo. Windies opener Shimron Hetmyer took Khaleel to the cleaners as the he appeared lacklustre in the previous game, unable to maintain consistent lines and lengths. The Rajasthan speedster dismayingly leaked 27 runs in his quota of 3 overs.
Navdeep Saini, on the other hand, impressed one and all with his searing pace and precise control in the recently concluded Twenty20 series. Though it is a valid point that the left-armer brings about a refreshing variety to the bowling attack, the prodigious Navdeep Saini might just get the nod ahead of Khaleel Ahmed in the upcoming fixture - thanks to his breath-taking ability to clock 150mph consistently.
West Indies batting: a nagging concern
Boasting of a potent bowling attack, West Indies have often been let down by their mediocre batting. With the willow in hand, the Calypso batsmen slithered to modest targets in the shortest format of the game against a quality Indian bowling unit. The constant failures of the free-scoring Chris Gayle have left the squad in disarray. Over-reliance on Shai Hope is clearly perceptible.
"Too many instances where we have gotten starts as individuals but never carried them deep into the innings, so that's one area we have pinpointed and once we've tackled that we have put ourselves in our very good position," Jason Holder exclaimed ahead of the first ODI against India in Guyana.
It is high time the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Roston Chase, who have exhibited potential in the domestic circuit and international arena, come to the fore and shoulder responsibility.